Jul 27, 2014, 7:52 PM EDT
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.
Apr 19, 2015, 9:30 AM EDT
Lewis Hamilton will lead the grid away in Bahrain on Sunday ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg.
Apr 19, 2015, 8:45 AM EDT
Watch a sneak preview of today’s episode as we hear from local racer Daniel Ricciardo on his home race weekend.
Apr 19, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT
Starting from pole position, Hamilton goes in search of his third win of the season in Bahrain.
Apr 18, 2015, 10:00 PM EDT
Beretta’s Ferrari to start up front for Round 5 of season.
Apr 18, 2015, 9:15 PM EDT
Newgarden qualifies sixth for Long Beach race, best outside IndyCar’s established “power trio.”
Apr 18, 2015, 9:05 PM EDT
With 1-2-5 in qualifying at Long Beach, Team Penske’s hot streak on Saturdays continues to open 2015.
Apr 18, 2015, 8:49 PM EDT
Polesitting entries bring it home Saturday at Long Beach for the TUDOR Championship.
Apr 18, 2015, 8:15 PM EDT
Scott Dixon hopes for success at Long Beach, a track he considers a “thorn in the side.”
Apr 18, 2015, 8:05 PM EDT
Ryan Hunter-Reay begins rebound from NOLA wreck by qualifying fourth in Long Beach.
Apr 18, 2015, 6:44 PM EDT
NBCSN IndyCar analyst Townsend Bell returns to the Indianapolis 500 with Dreyer & Reinbold/Kingdom Racing.
Apr 18, 2015, 6:19 PM EDT
Helio Castroneves brings Team Penske its third consecutive pole to start the season.
Apr 18, 2015, 5:52 PM EDT
IndyCar qualifying about to go on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra.
Apr 18, 2015, 5:28 PM EDT
Jack Harvey will start from the pole for Sunday’s Indy Lights race in Long Beach.
Apr 18, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT
American driver Alexander Rossi performs admirably to finish third, having lost the lead of the race with two laps remaining.
Apr 18, 2015, 3:15 PM EDT
Despite expecting to struggle in Bahrain, Sainz will start the race from ninth place on Sunday.
Apr 18, 2015, 2:40 PM EDT
Grosjean believes he could have qualified higher up the grid, but is pleased to have maintained his 100% Q3 record in 2015.
Apr 18, 2015, 2:12 PM EDT
Simon Pagenaud led IndyCar’s final practice session in Long Beach.
Apr 18, 2015, 2:07 PM EDT
Daniel Ricciardo fares far better in the sister Red Bull, qualifying seventh in Bahrain.
Apr 18, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT
Former Red Bull driver believes that the focus should not be on tire management, but instead on driver ability and pace.
- Off The Grid: Melbourne premieres 1:30pm ET on NBCSN (VIDEO) 0
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- Hamilton eases to fourth straight pole position in Bahrain 0
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- INDYCAR confirms more aero kit updates coming to Long Beach 1
- Rocky Moran Jr. to replace Huertas in Coyne’s No. 18 for Long Beach 7
- Rosberg heads up Mercedes one-two in Bahrain FP2 1