Sometimes there is no greater feeling that being the best, and proving it just one more time. In 1994, NASCAR went to a place that for years was only considered open-wheel territory. It was uncertain if it would be accepted, but when the green flag waved, the fans got to see a moment that has changed the course of stock car racing in the motorsports capital of the world.
That year, a young man who was born in California, but was raised in Indiana, achieved a dream, and became the first to win at the historic venue in a stock car.
He did it again in 1998, and again in 2001, and one more time in 2004. Over the years, the statistics back up being the best at this speedway. Add in 11 top-fives and 17 top-10's, and you have a driver that is extremely successful, but that doesn't mean adding in one more victory was not happening. It was a new decade, and no driver wanted another victory at Indianapolis than Jeff Gordon. The writing was on the wall, as a scoring pylon was given to him from the old tower, and it was declared "Jeff Gordon Day" in Indianapolis.
No other team wanted a win more badly than the No. 24 group, and on Sunday afternoon it was a dream realized once again. It was a fifth win at the Brickyard, and another win for Gordon on the season, meaning he's locked in to the Chase. One "Drive for Five" is complete, and one more is left.
That win meant big things for three writers, who correctly guessed Gordon would kiss the bricks on Sunday. There was no change in the leader in the standings, but that lead has shrank down. Here's where everyone stands after the John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard:
Kara Martin (721) Jimmie Johnson finished 14th - 3
Ryan O'Hara (708) Jeff Gordon WON - 5
Sal Sigala Jr. (691) Jimmie Johnson finished 14th - 5
Patti Rodisch (695) Jeff Gordon WON - 3
Rob Tiongson (675) Jeff Gordon WON - 3
Billy Fellin (638) Jimmie Johnson finished 14th - 1
Dustin Parks (632) Tony Stewart finished 17th - 2
Michael Hirshbein (627) Kyle Busch finished 2nd - 1
Aaron Rosser (600) Brad Keselowski finished 12th - 1
Rob Blount (592) Jimmie Johnson finished 14th - 1
Misan Akuya (592) Tony Stewart finished 17th - 1
James Broomhead (535) Jimmie Johnson finished 14th - 2
Next Race: It is very rare when two tracks happen back to back that are similar in how one can set up the car, much less the tracks having a similar size in the banking of the track. In this case, NASCAR has that. But, this next track is missing one thing: a fourth turn.
Up on the docket for the Sprint Cup Series is a return to the Pocono Mountains, and the Pocono Raceway. It's the final 2.5-mile speedway on the circuit, but the track has three distinct straightaways, and three distinctive corners that make this track rather treacherous. It's a place that Indianapolis has been compared to, and even in a way modeled after with one of the turns.
Writers, it is not often that two tracks are that similar in back-to-back weeks, but could we see a repeat of wins? Have your picks for the GoBowling.com 400 turned in by Thursday, July 31, at 10 p.m. ET.