Never mind the graying of his hair or the fact that that his first Brickyard 400 victory was so long ago that kissing the bricks in celebration wasn’t even a thing. A few days shy of his 43rd birthday, Jeff Gordon is on top of his game.
Gordon won the 21st edition of the race for the fifth time Sunday, a fitting cap for a weekend on which the 20th anniversary of his first win was celebrated at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was celebrated. Gordon was more interested in the immediate rather than the long-range implications of the win.
“If you can do it here, you can do it anywhere,” Gordon, the Sprint Cup standings leader for all but one week this year, said. “It’s certainly going to be a huge confidence boost for this team. We recognize the significance of this.
“We saw we were points leaders, we won at Kansas, but I don’t know if we believed we were capable of winning this championship this year. We do now.”
Gordon hadn’t won the Brickyard since 2004 and now two small children joined him at the finish line after his 90th NASCAR Cup win on “Jeff Gordon Day” in Indy. “I told him this morning, this is your day,” team owner Rick Hendrick said. “He’s been so good on the long runs at every track. He gets around this place so well. For him to break that tie is pretty special. We’re a little bit older. It’s a great win. This is his home track. I remember the first one how good it felt. This one feels just as good.”
He was helped by what he said was “the restart of my life” with 17 laps to go.
Gordon went into Turn 1 on the outside of Kasey Kahne, then swept past him into a lead that just kept growing. “I’ll say that on that last lap, I looked up in Turn 4,” Gordon said. “To just see everybody standing and cheering, that’s awesome. That sends a chill up your spine as a race car driver in a race that is so important to you, to have so many fans out there supporting you.”
Now, let the talk begin about just where he stands among the all-time greats.
— 120 Sports (@120Sports) July 28, 2014