Skip to content

Jeff Gordon wins record 5th Brickyard 400 in vintage fashion

Jul 27, 2014, 4:17 PM EDT

(AP Photo/Robert Baker) AP

INDIANAPOLIS – It was an oldie but goodie performance as Jeff Gordon – seven days short of his 43rd birthday – rallied late to win Sunday’s 21st Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Looking like he did in his prime, Gordon took the lead from Kasey Kahne 16 laps from the finish on the final restart and held on to earn a record fifth Brickyard title, his second win of 2014 and the 90th win of his 22-season Sprint Cup career.

“I don’t think there’s a greater feeling for a race car driver and a race team because that’s what it took today, a total team effort to be here in victory lane at Indianapolis,” Gordon told ESPN in victory lane. “I’m not very good on restarts and wasn’t good today, and finally made the restart of my life. I’ve got to thank Kasey, he raced me clean. Once I got past him, I thought to myself, ‘I can’t believe this is happening.'”

Gordon did all he could to focus on driving his race car and not worry about those behind him or the victory that potentially awaited ahead of him at the start-finish line.

“I was trying so hard with 10 to go not to focus on the crowd,” Gordon said. “I could see every once in a while I’d glance up there and see the reaction. You can’t help it. It’s such a good race and such an important victory.”

Gordon won the inaugural Brickyard 400 in 1994, and followed that up with wins in 1998, 2001 and 2004. Many fans and media borrowed Gordon’s “Drive for 5″ line about winning his fifth Sprint Cup championship this season and instead applied it to Sunday’s event.

“All week long, fans were coming up to me and saying, ‘We believe in you’ and ‘You’ll get No. 5.’ Well, we got No. 5. Yes!” Gordon said.

Gordon, who grew up in nearby Pittsboro, Ind., even gave himself an early birthday present with the win. The Sprint Cup veteran turns 43 on Aug. 4.

“I told him this morning, ‘This is your day,'” team owner Rick Hendrick said. “For him to break that tie (four Brickyard wins with teammate Jimmie Johnson), this is pretty special. We’ve a little bit older than we were 20 years ago, but it’s a great win.”

It’s also the ninth Brickyard win in 21 years for Hendrick Motorsports drivers.

Ironically, before the race, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard proclaimed the day “Jeff Gordon Day,” and Gordon certainly finished it in outstanding form.

Gordon led a Hendrick Motorsports surge, as Kahne finished sixth, followed by fellow teammates Dale Earnhardt Jr. (ninth) and four-time Brickyard winner Jimmie Johnson (14th).

Right behind Gordon was the potent Joe Gibbs Racing triumverate of Kyle Busch (second), Denny Hamlin (third) and Matt Kenseth (fourth).

“We had a good day, certainly better than expected,” Busch said. “We’ve been working hard the last few months in making better race cars and the TRD guys making better horsepower and it paid off with a 2-3-4 finish for the whole JGR organization.”

Also finishing in the top-10 were Joey Logano (fifth), rookie Kyle Larson (seventh), pole-sitter Kevin Harvick (eighth) and rookie Austin Dillon (10th).

Kahne dominated through much of the race and appeared headed to victory, but after Ryan Truex lost power on the frontstretch, bringing out the caution flag, Kahne slipped badly on the restart, eventually dropping as far back as fifth. Gordon took advantage with a power move of his own and began to pull away towards victory.

Among other highlights:

* Juan Pablo Montoya, who twice fell short of winning the Brickyard during his previous tenure as a full-time Sprint Cup driver, wound up 23rd on the finishing grid. Montoya moved back to the Verizon IndyCar Series this season after seven seasons on the Cup circuit.

* Danica Patrick, who had a strong 14th-place qualifying effort, was knocked out of the race on Lap 67 when the rear axle in her Chevrolet broke. She was sidelined nearly 30 laps before repairs were made, but Patrick still finished 42nd.

* Last year’s Brickyard winner, Ryan Newman, could not repeat his success. Never really much of a factor in the race, Newman ultimately finished 11th.

* Two-time Brickyard winner Tony Stewart struggled to a 17th-place finish.

Harvick, who won the 400 in 2003, held the lead for the first lap before four-time 400 winner Jeff Gordon took the point.

There was a competition caution on Lap 21, but it was rather routine and uneventful. Most teams took either two or four tires and fuel, although four-time 400 winner Jimmie Johnson and Clint Bowyer came in for fuel only (they both came in on Lap 37 for tires).

Joey Logano took the lead on the restart and held it until Lap 33, when he was forced to pit for fuel and tires, allowing Kasey Kahne to take the point.

Paul Menard glanced off the wall on Lap 33, as well, but suffered only minor damage and was able to continue.

Larson took over the lead on Lap 38 as Kahne pitted, and then yielded to fellow rookie Austin Dillon on Lap 43.

Dillon led for just one lap before he pitted, turning over the lead to Denny Hamlin.

Harvick regained the lead on Lap 55 as teams started stepping up their game at that point because of reports of rain in the area. As it turned out, however, the rain held off until about an hour after the conclusion of the race.

Because IMS never announces attendance figures, a poll of several media members, all veterans at IMS, pegged Sunday’s turnout around 70,000, similar to crowds in the last two editions of the 400.

Fans watching on TV might have thought the turnout was even less, but that’s probably because of the massive size of IMS, which can seat between 250,000 and 300,000.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Latest Posts
  1. Hamilton storms to first Monaco GP pole position

    May 23, 2015, 9:06 AM EDT

    Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's British driver Lewis Hamilton  drives during the third practice session at the Monaco street circuit in Monte-Carlo on May 23, 2015, ahead of the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC        (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Hamilton rallies to claim pole position for the first time in Monaco.

  2. WATCH LIVE: Monaco GP qualifying on NBCSN and Live Extra from 8am ET

    May 23, 2015, 7:45 AM EDT

    MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 23:  Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Infiniti Red Bull Racing drives during final practice for the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 23, 2015 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.  (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images) Getty Images

    After Sebastian Vettel finished fastest in practice, can Ferrari take the fight to Mercedes for pole position today?

  3. Formula E: Jarno Trulli claims pole for Berlin ePrix

    May 23, 2015, 7:02 AM EDT

    A Formula E Trulli driver Jarno Trulli prepares to take part in the first pratice session in Punta del Este, Uruguay on December 13, 2014. Uruguay will host the third race of the inaugural Formula-E electric car race championship on December 13.  AFP PHOTO / PABLO PORCIUNCULA        (Photo credit should read PABLO PORCIUNCULA/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Italian driver storms to his first pole position in the series ahead of Lucas di Grassi and Sebastien Buemi.

  4. Vettel fastest for Ferrari in final practice for Monaco GP

    May 23, 2015, 6:04 AM EDT

    Scuderia Ferrari's German driver Sebastian Vettel  drives during the third practice session at the Monaco street circuit in Monte-Carlo on May 23, 2015, ahead of the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / BORIS HORVAT        (Photo credit should read BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Vettel storms to P1, throwing Ferrari’s hat into the ring for pole position later today.

  5. WATCH LIVE: FP3 for the Monaco Grand Prix on Live Extra from 5am ET

    May 23, 2015, 4:45 AM EDT

    Technicians work as  Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's British driver Lewis Hamilton  sits in his car in the pits during the second practice session at the Monaco street circuit in Monte-Carlo on May 21, 2015, ahead of the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / JEAN CHRISTOPHE MAGNENET        (Photo credit should read JEAN CHRISTOPHE MAGNENET/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    After Thursday’s washout, FP3 becomes all the more important in Monaco.

  6. Vautier describes his “rollercoaster of emotions” throughout month of May

    May 22, 2015, 3:39 PM EDT

    Photo: INDYCAR Photo: INDYCAR

    Tristan Vautier recaps a roller coaster month of May, where he’ll have a last-minute opportunity to race in the Indianapolis 500 with Dale Coyne Racing.

  7. GP2: Vandoorne edges out Rossi for Monaco win

    May 22, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT

    © GP2 Series © GP2 Series

    A third straight feature race win for Stoffel Vandoorne sees him extend his lead at the top of the drivers’ championship.

  8. Harvey emerges victorious from Indy Lights’ Freedom 100 (VIDEO)

    May 22, 2015, 2:40 PM EDT

    Photo, IMS Photography, LLC Photo, IMS Photography, LLC

    Harvey scores the win in Indy Lights’ biggest race of the year.

  9. Fernley: F1 Strategy Group not fit for purpose

    May 22, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    xxxx during practice for the Malaysia Formula One Grand Prix at Sepang Circuit on March 27, 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Getty Images

    Force India’s deputy team principal lashes out at the F1 Strategy Group, calls for a return to autocratic rule by the FIA and the F1 Group.

  10. FIA invites bids for Formula 1 tire supply from 2017

    May 22, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT

    A Pirelli team member prepares tyres and rims in the paddock at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Spa on August 21, 2014 ahead of the Belgium Formula One Grand Prix.  AFP PHOTO / TOM GANDOLFINI        (Photo credit should read Tom Gandolfini/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Bids to supply tires to F1 upon the next change to the technical regulations now being taken.

  11. IndyCar: Carb Day 2015 rolling notebook (VIDEO)

    May 22, 2015, 12:06 PM EDT

    150522willpower Getty Images

    Notes as they develop from the ground in Indianapolis for Carb Day for the 99th Indianapolis 500.

  12. Jules Bianchi’s condition “stagnant” according to father Philippe

    May 22, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    SUZUKA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 05: Jules Bianchi of France and Marussia arrives for the drivers' parade prior to the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix at Suzuka Circuit on October 5, 2014 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Jiri Krenek/isifa/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Bianchi remains in a coma in French hospital after sustaining severe head injuries at the Japanese Grand Prix last October.

  13. Chip Ganassi lobbying for IndyCar schedule changes

    May 22, 2015, 11:38 AM EDT

    Chip Ganassi, Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi, Scott Dixon

    The team owner would like the season’s calendar expanded.

  14. WATCH LIVE: IndyCar, Indy Lights Carb Day at 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN, Live Extra

    May 22, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT

    Helio Castroneves after this past Sunday's first day of practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. AP

    Watch Carb Day IndyCar and Indy Lights coverage, from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, at 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra.

  15. What to watch for: IndyCar, Indy Lights Carb Day (11 a.m. ET, NBCSN and Live Extra)

    May 22, 2015, 9:08 AM EDT

    SagePitStops Getty Images

    Still A LOT of stuff to watch for on Carb Day for the Verizon IndyCar Series, LIVE from 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra.

  16. Here’s Friday’s jam-packed schedule for IMS Carb Day 2015

    May 22, 2015, 8:22 AM EDT

    Photo: INDYCAR Photo: INDYCAR

    Carb Day at IMS: always one of the busiest days of the year.

  17. UPDATED: Vautier to replace Huertas at last-minute for Indy 500

    May 21, 2015, 11:51 PM EDT

    Photo: INDYCAR Photo: INDYCAR

    In a bizarre and truly 11th hour circumstance, Tristan Vautier appears set to replace Carlos Huertas in Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.

  18. IndyCar driver raises concern about design of wishbone that injured James Hinchcliffe in crash

    May 21, 2015, 5:57 PM EDT

    James Hinchcliffe James Hinchcliffe

    Oriol Servia says a connecting rod was removed that might have prevented the part from piercing the tub and critically injuring driver.

  19. GP2: Rossi storms to pole position in Monaco qualifying

    May 21, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT

    © GP2 Series © GP2 Series

    American driver claims his second pole position in GP2 with a mesmerising display in Monaco on Thursday.

  20. SPM targets Monday for next driver confirmation in No. 5 car as drivers await

    May 21, 2015, 4:32 PM EDT

    Photo: INDYCAR Photo: INDYCAR

    The No. 5 beyond Indy 500 could be Daly, Wilson, or A.N. Other.