Eli Gold, the legendary stock car racing announcer and Alabama football play-by-play guy, didn’t show up for Tuesday night’s broadcast of NASCAR Live, his weekly syndicated radio show.
Substitute host Mike Bagley said at the opening of NASCAR Live, which is produced by the Motor Racing Network, that Gold was “away from the network working on some non-MRN related personal projects.”
Gold has been calling NASCAR races since 1976, and hosting NASCAR Live since 1982. His run with Bama football began in the late 1980s. He’s such a big deal in Tuscaloosa that if you call the university’s admissions office, a recording of Gold’s voice welcomes you.
Why wasn’t he on the air Tuesday? A source with ties to MRN tells Deadspin that the network took away Gold’s microphone, suspending him due to an incident that allegedly took place last month while the Sprint Cup series was in Richmond, Va. for the Toyota Owners 400. He worked the race at Talledega a week later, but was not in the MRN booth for last weekend’s Go Bowling 400 from Kansas Speedway.
MRN is owned by NASCAR. NASCAR spokesman Christian Bochicchio did not respond to an email requesting an update on Gold’s current job status.
Whatever’s keeping Gold away from work, MRN isn’t telling. Callers to the network’s switchboard are being told there’s nothing the network is ready to disclose about his absence. “He’s not here,” MRN’s in-house operator told me when I asked to be put in touch with Gold. (Attempts to reach him by other means were equally unsuccessful.)
MRN program director Ryan Horn declined to confirm or deny that Gold had been suspended. Asked to explain Gold’s absences, Horn said, “Right now, he’s working on some projects, and we hope to have him back.”
Horn declined to say what those projects were, when the network expects Gold’s comeback might occur, and whether it’s up to Gold or MRN to determine when he’s ready to return. “I can’t really comment,” he said, and referred all additional queries to David Hyatt, MRN’s president. Hyatt did not respond to requests for comment on Gold’s status.
Know about what’s going on with Eli Gold, or anything else we should know about? Email the reporter or use our SecureDrop system.