Skip to content

Gordon’s Brickyard legacy superb, but can’t be compared to other Indy legends

Jul 27, 2014, 7:52 PM EST

Jeff Gordon AP

Comparing apples to oranges to bananas is always going to come off as a bit pear-shaped.

Jeff Gordon became the first NASCAR driver to win five times at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday afternoon.

That in itself in an awesome feat, and it’s rather fitting that Gordon made it happen on the 20th anniversary of his first Brickyard 400 triumph all the way back in 1994.

But it simply cannot be compared, favorably or unfavorably, to the four Indianapolis 500 wins apiece from A.J. Foyt, Rick Mears, and Al Unser Sr.

Or for that matter, the five Formula One wins that Michael Schumacher racked up when the United States Grand Prix (now at the Circuit of the Americas) was run on the original IMS road course.

To say that Schumacher and now Gordon are superior to Foyt, Mears, and Unser simply because five wins trump four is a foolish declaration to make.

In the end, we have to acknowledge all of the accomplishments as special on their own and resist the temptation to stack them against each other.

As these drivers created their Indianapolis legacies, they had to adapt as their cars moved along with the times.

Examples: Gordon’s won his Brickyards in what’s now known as “Generation 4″ and “Generation 6″ Cup cars; Foyt’s the only man to have won the ‘500’ in both front and rear-engined machines; and en route to all of his USGP wins, Schumacher had to get used to new chassis and engines each year.

And with the changing cars, the styles of racing obviously changed too. Then there’s the differences in the speeds and the tracks as well.

For the Indy 500 guys and Gordon, they constantly barrel (or barreled) around a 2.5-mile oval at speeds of 200 mph or more. For Schumacher, he drove on a 2.6-mile road course with 13 turns that only let him and his peers get close to those speeds perhaps once or twice during a lap.

Finally, there’s the time lengths involved. Schumacher won his five USGPs in the span of seven years. Foyt (17 years), Unser (18 years), and Mears (13 years) all went well beyond a decade for their respective four Indy 500s. And to get his five Brickyard wins, Gordon (21 years) went two full decades.

How can you possibly compare any of this without betraying your bias for a specific racing discipline – or just coming across real, real poorly?

It’s better to just look back and marvel at what these men have done at the world’s greatest race course.

No matter the form of racing, these five drivers make for one hell of a fraternity of speed.

Latest Posts
  1. Gene Haas updates F1 team’s progress at NASCAR media tour

    Jan 27, 2015, 5:45 PM EST

    Gene Haas Formula One Press Conference Getty Images

    Gene Haas provides an update on his F1 team’s progress during NASCAR Media Tour.

  2. The King: NASCAR’s next great driver may be in XFINITY Series right now (video)

    Jan 27, 2015, 5:28 PM EST

    richard petty daytona rising 2014 Getty Images

    In a new promotional video for the XFINITY Series, Richard Petty says the next great NASCAR driver may be in the sport’s junior league right now.

  3. NFL legends join NASCAR stars in NBC Sports’ upcoming “Gridiron Challenge” (VIDEO)

    Jan 27, 2015, 4:58 PM EST

    nbcsports1 (1)

    Don’t miss this special event on Friday, Jan. 30, at 10 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

  4. Kurt Busch reasserts what he said about ex: “What I said was under oath”

    Jan 27, 2015, 4:34 PM EST

    Kurt Busch Kurt Busch

    Kurt Busch says he’s unsure when a decision will be made in the protective hearing case sought by his ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll

  5. NHRA wants to give fans ‘Baptism by Nitro’ in 2015

    Jan 27, 2015, 4:22 PM EST

    (Image courtesy NHRA) (Image courtesy NHRA)

    In an effort to attract new drag racing fans, the National Hot Rod Association has embarked upon a new marketing and social media program for 2015: “Baptism by Nitro”, featuring the sport’s fastest cars, Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars.

  6. Danica Patrick enters final year of contract but wants to stay at Stewart-Haas

    Jan 27, 2015, 3:46 PM EST

    NASCAR Sprint Media Tour - Day 2 NASCAR Sprint Media Tour - Day 2

    Car owner Gene Haas confirms this is the final year of Danica Patrick’s contract but says he wants Patrick back.

  7. NASCAR: J.J. Yeley will be BK Racing’s primary driver in 2015

    Jan 27, 2015, 3:15 PM EST

    Sprint Showdown - Qualifying Getty Images

    Yeley ran the final seven races of 2014 in BK’s No. 83 Toyota.

  8. Cast your vote: Which SHR driver will improve most in ’15?

    Jan 27, 2015, 2:53 PM EST

    SHR lineup AP

    While teammate Kevin Harvick won the Sprint Cup championship in 2014, Danica Patrick, Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart all came up short. Which driver will bounce back the most in 2015?

  9. Danica Patrick: 2014 was a success to build upon for ’15

    Jan 27, 2015, 2:45 PM EST

    Danica Patrick AP

    While some media may think 2014 was a sub-par year for her, Danica Patrick believes last season was just the opposite, a season of growth and improvement that she hopes to extend into the 2015 Sprint Cup campaign.

  10. Al Unser to be recognized at Legends Day this May

    Jan 27, 2015, 2:15 PM EST

    Photo: IMS Photo: IMS

    Al Unser Sr. gets a day of honor at IMS this month of May.

  11. NASCAR, RTA are communicating but not commenting much about it

    Jan 27, 2015, 2:08 PM EST

    Party in the Poconos 400 - Practice Getty Images

    RTA chairman Rob Kauffman deflected several questions Tuesday about the organization, which represents virtually every team in NASCAR’s premier series.

  12. Kurt Busch: Indy 500 return is “something we haven’t talked about”

    Jan 27, 2015, 2:05 PM EST

    Kurt Busch AP

    Former Sprint Cup champ finished sixth in first ‘500’ appearance last year.

  13. Bobby Hamilton Jr. makes comeback bid in ARCA

    Jan 27, 2015, 1:32 PM EST

    Bobby Hamilton Jr. (Photo courtesy Carter 2 Motorsports) Bobby Hamilton Jr. (Photo courtesy Carter 2 Motorsports)

    One year after his last comeback effort fell short, Bobby Hamilton Jr. is back to try it again with Carter 2 Motorsports in a full-time ARCA season racing effort.

  14. Sauber confirms Friday launch date, and HP partnership

    Jan 27, 2015, 1:15 PM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Brazil Getty Images

    Sauber will have its new car launch on Friday, and also has confirmed HP partnership.

  15. Start times for 2015 Camping World Truck Series races

    Jan 27, 2015, 1:00 PM EST

    NCWTS logo

    The 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule and race times was announced Tuesday.

  16. Start times for 2015 XFINITY Series races

    Jan 27, 2015, 12:40 PM EST

    xfinity series logo

    Race times for the inaugural season of the new Xfinity Series were announced Tuesday.

  17. NASCAR: HScott announces second car for Michael Annett

    Jan 27, 2015, 12:32 PM EST

    GoBowling.com 400 - Practice Getty Images

    Annett will bring his Pilot/Flying J sponsorship with him to HScott Motorsports, where he’ll team up with Justin Allgaier.

  18. Start times for 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races

    Jan 27, 2015, 12:15 PM EST

    Food City 500 Practice Getty Images

    NASCAR releases start times for all 36 Cup points races plus Daytona 500 prelims, the All-Star Race, and the Sprint Showdown.

  19. Michael Waltrip Racing responds to Kyle Busch’s comments about working together

    Jan 27, 2015, 11:54 AM EST

    Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts - Practice Getty Images

    Michael Waltrip Racing co-owner says his team is working with Joe Gibbs Racing, countering claims Kyle Busch made about the collaboration between the teams.

  20. Bowyer on Gordon: “You’re never good with somebody when it got that ugly”

    Jan 27, 2015, 11:22 AM EST

    Clint Bowyer, Jeff Gordon Clint Bowyer, Jeff Gordon

    Clint Bowyer said of his relationship with Jeff Gordon: “You’re never good with somebody when it got that ugly.”

Video from NASCAR America

Joe Gibbs is ecstatic about Carl Edwards
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. J. Gordon (2221)
  2. K. Schrader (1762)
  3. J. Clements (1753)
  4. K. Grala (1660)
  5. S. Gallagher (1611)
  1. M. Lira (1556)
  2. R. Hornaday Jr. (1554)
  3. M. Waltrip (1536)
  4. B. Scott (1469)
  5. B. Vickers (1450)