Jeff Gordon snapped up his fifth win at the Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis Sunday, becoming the first driver to become a five-time NASCAR winner at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Gordon snatched the lead away from fellow Hendrick Motorsports Driver Kasey Kahne on a restart with just 17 laps to go. He then held on for his second Spring Cup win of the year and the 90th of his career. The driver also won the inaugural Cup event at Indianapolis in 1994.
Jeff Gordon told USA Today of the last few laps of the race, “I’m not very good on restarts and wasn’t very good today. I finally made the restart of my life when it counted the most. Once we got down into [turns] 1 and 2, I could hear [Kahne] getting loose. I’ve got to thank him for racing me clean. He’s such a good guy.”
Sunday’s win was the first for Gordon at the Brickyard since 2004. It was also special, considering the driver lived in nearby Pittsboro, Indiana, while racing sprint cars in his teens.
Team owner Rick Hendrick praised Gordon’s win, commenting, “I told him this morning, this is your day. He’s been so good on the long runs at every track. He gets around this place so well. For him to break that tie is pretty special… I remember the first one how good it felt. This one feels just as good.”
Sporting News notes that Jeff Gordon’s win at the Brickyard proves he is back from a slump he experienced the past few seasons. His fifth Indy win comes as Gordon continues to lead the Sprint Cup standings in pursuit of his record fifth championship.
Teammate Kasey Kahne dominated most of Sunday’s race and held the lead on the restart before Gordon overtook him in Turn 1. Kahne then faded to fifth and eventually ended up crossing the finish line in sixth. The No. 5 driver admitted he allowed Gordon to control the final restart, explaining, “Either way, he was going to pass me in 1 and 2. Looking back, I probably should have picked the top [line] on the restart. I would have loved to win the Brickyard.”
Kahne was also running low on fuel and likely wouldn’t have been able to hold Jeff Gordon off, even if he wasn’t passed in Turn 1. Kyle Busch, who finished second in the race, echoed the sentiment, saying, “There was no catching him, definitely not. Those guys were really, really fast.”
The win was big for Gordon and the No. 24 team, which has been unable to keep pace with dominant teammate Jimmie Johnson the past several years. Johnson and Hendrick teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. stopped by victory lane to congratulate Jeff Gordon on his fifth Brickyard 400 win.
[Image by raniel diaz]