The Racing Capital
of the World
July 23, 2014 | By IMS
Between them they own 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series titles and 158 Sprint Cup Series wins, and on Sunday, July 27, two of the greatest drivers in NASCAR history - Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson - will race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway looking to become the first to win the Crown Royal Presents the John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Powered by BigMachineRecords.com for the fifth time.
Although there are no guarantees that either Gordon or Johnson will emerge victorious at the 21st annual Brickyard 400, the Hendrick Motorsports teammates will take the green flag at IMS riding the momentum of highly successful 2014 campaigns.
Gordon, who last won the prestigious Sprint Cup crown in 2001, owns one win this season and is currently sitting atop the Sprint Cup Series standings while Johnson, the reigning Sprint Cup champion and a three-time winner this year, is in fifth place trailing Gordon by 72 points.
One of only four drivers to compete in the previous 20 Brickyard 400 races, Gordon won the inaugural Brickyard 400 in 1994 when he passed Ernie Irvan for the lead on late in the race before sailing across the famous Yard of Bricks and into the history books.
The second Brickyard 400 win for Gordon came in 1998 when he led 97 laps including the last 34 in a cruise to victory. Gordon faced a difficult challenge in starting 27th at the 2001 Brickyard 400, where he gradually worked his way to the front and led the final 25 laps en route to becoming the first driver to win the event three times.
Gordon joined Indianapolis 500 greats A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears as a four-time winner at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with his dominating win in 2004, where he led 124 laps. Gordon’s incredible success at IMS includes three Brickyard 400 pole positions, 11 top-5 finishes, 16 top-10 finishes, 488 laps led and winnings totaling $6,992,889.
“Yeah, every time it's something special when you go to Indianapolis,” Gordon said. “It's just such a cool place, so much history, and obviously a lot of great memories for me. As a driver when I go there, of course it takes a great car and a great team to win that race, but it seems like most years that we've been there, we've had a car that's capable of winning.
“With the type of season that we're having, I'm extremely excited about going to Indianapolis. I think that the way that our cars are performing, the way our engines are performing, Indianapolis is a track that we certainly can win at. It's hard to believe it's been 20 years (since his first Brickyard 400 win), but looking forward to celebrating those 20 years hopefully with another win.”
The first Brickyard 400 win for Johnson in 2006 came in his fifth start at IMS. He qualified fifth and was running near the front when his left front tire blew on Lap 40. Johnson, who gradually drove his way to the front and held the lead on three occasions for a total of 33 laps, passed Kyle Busch on Lap 151 on his way to the win.
Johnson drove his No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet to the pole position for the 2008 Brickyard 400, and he led a race-high 71 laps on his way to his second win at IMS. In 2009, Johnson qualified 16th and led the final 24 laps in becoming the first driver to repeat as the Brickyard 400 champion.
Johnson equaled Gordon’s total of four victories at IMS when he won the 2012 Crown Royal Presents the Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard Powered by BigMachineRecords.com. Johnson grabbed the lead for good on Lap 132 and dominated the race by leading a total of 99 laps. In only 12 Brickyard 400 starts, Johnson has amassed five top-5 finishes, six top-10 finishes, 302 laps led and $3,403,436 in earnings.
The stakes couldn’t be higher for Gordon and Johnson during this year’s Brickyard 400 as they battle to stay on top of this season’s point standings. They will also look to join Formula One superstar Michael Schumacher – winner of five United States Grand Prix races at IMS - as the only five-time winners at the “Racing Capital of the World.”