Yesterday, to the surprise of many, Jeff Gordon announced that 2015 will be his final full-time season competing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Dang it, Jeff. We’re going to miss you around the Brickyard.
In July 2014 Gordon became the first person to win the Brickyard 400 five times. Actually, he became the first driver to win a major event on the IMS oval five times. Therefore, it’s only appropriate that we dedicate today’s Friday Five to those five historic wins.
ONE: How could anyone forget Jeff Gordon’s win at the inaugural Brickyard 400? Gordon was 23 years old and in his second year as a driver in NASCAR’s top series. As Gordon crossed the bricks announcer Bob Jenkins said, “Years from today when 79 stock car races have been run here, we’ll remember the name: Jeff Gordon.” Boy was he right.
TWO: Gordon’s next win at the Brickyard came in 1998. He became the first repeat winner of the Brickyard 400. In this shot from Victory Circle he hugs the Brickyard 400 trophy as if it were an old friend. Little did we all know, their friendship was just beginning.
THREE: A few years later, in 2001, Gordon grabbed his third win at the Brickyard – once again becoming the first driver to do so.
FOUR: 2004 marked the 10th anniversary of the Brickyard 400. The race was extended an extra lap under green-white-checkered conditions, a rule that NASCAR had adopted just a month earlier. It was the first time in NASCAR history that a GWC situation extended competition. Gordon held onto the lead and grabbed his fourth win at the Brickyard.
FIVE: As the 20th anniversary of the Brickyard 400 approached in 2014 one question hung in the air – “Could Jeff Gordon do it again?” Could he really pull off an unheard of fifth win on the famed IMS oval? The answer: Of course he could. And, yes, he did.