Suburban Journals of Chicago Inc.
photos by Mark Rotor and Dan Peters


by Dan Peters
Sports Editor

Sunday, July 27, 2014 – Jeff Gordon Day at the famed Brickyard and Pittsboro, Indiana's Jeff Gordon made history on Sunday, winning for the fifth time on the iconic 2.5-mile oval.

Gordon took the lead on a Lap 143 restart and held off Toyota driver Kyle Busch the rest of the way, thrilling his many fans and rewriting the record book at Indianapolis.
"I don't think there's a greater feeling for a racecar driver and a race team," Gordon said. "It's such a great race and such an important victory and such an important moment in the season and championship."

The Sprint Cup Series points leader came to Indianapolis this week in a tie with his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson for the most wins at IMS - four. Now, he stands on another pedestal alongside Michael Schumacher as the only drivers to win five races at Indy.. Schumacher won the Formula One United States Grand Prix five times, in 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006.

Gordon had previously won at the Brickyard in 1994, 1998, 2001 and 2004, and on Friday he was honored on the 20th anniversary of the first win. Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles presented the 42-year-old with a No. 24 placard from the IMS scoring pylon that was removed last month, and Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard proclaimed Sunday "Jeff Gordon Day."

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It was truly “Jeff Gordon’s Day”.

"I told him this morning that 'this is your day,'" said Rick Hendrick, Gordon's car owner. "He gets around this place so well and for him to break that tie (with Johnson) is pretty special. We're a little bit older than we were 20 years ago, but it's a great win. I remember the first one and how good it felt, this one feels just as good."

As is the tradition at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, he did a nearly perfect burnout before kissing the bricks and then allowed himself to finally soak in the moment with his adoring fans.

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"I was trying so hard with 10 (laps) to go not to focus on the crowd," Gordon said. "Every once in a while I'd glance up there and see the reaction and I was trying not to let it get to me, but you can't help it -- it's such a great race.

Gordon’s teammate Kasey Kahne in the #5 Time Warner Cable Chevrolet  looked strong heading into the later stages of the race, leading Gordon when the races final caution came out, tightening the field back up. Kahne ultimately would not have enough fuel and ran out of gas coming to the checkered flag, and had to be pushed by his crew to pit lane.

Gordon and Harvick claw through the corner.
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Kyle Busch tried to reel in Gordon, but at Indy, when a car gets out front, it’s nearly impossible to catch. For Busch it was his eighth top ten finish in 10 races at Indianapolis, and his ninth top 10 finish in 2014. “We had a good day.  Certainly better than expected.  All the guys at Joe Gibbs Racing have worked really hard the past few months in trying to make better racecars, TRD guys making better horsepower.

It all paid off good today.  We were able to come home 2-3-4 for JGR as an organization.  We're proud of that. You certainly see the guy out there in front of you beating you and you know you got a lot of speed to gain.  Those guys were really, really fast.  I don't think he even went 80% the whole last run of the race and was driving away from us.

Dale Jr's car ready to rock and roll.
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We have a lot of big areas to gain big speed in, then a bunch of little areas to gain a little bit of speed, too.  We have to continue to work on that and get better.

Great day for the Snickers Camry here.  Proud of the guys.  The pit stops were great today.  They were the ones that got me track position much of the race, being able to pass people on pit road, not having to burn up your stuff trying to pass them on the racetrack, said Busch.

Gibbs driver and fellow Busch teammate Denny Hamlin finished a strong third place, his fourth top 10 finish in nine races at the Brickyard. “Definitely wasn't very optimistic going into the day obviously.  But as the pace slows down, track gets hot, we typically get good.  That's when our car really took off today, was when the track slickened up, the pace slowed down.

Kahne in the pits...
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Proud of the adjustments we made.  Everything was great.  Everything was looking good.  We had us a big lead with enough fuel to make it.  Just didn't get it quite full on that second-to-last stop.  The one thing we had to get done to win the race, and just didn't get it quite full.  Had to go to the extra stop.

Had to go back to the teens, 15th, 16th, battle our way back.  That's a very strong comeback for us.  Regardless, my pit crew has done a phenomenal job all year long.  It's a great overall team effort today” said Hamlin.

Kyle Larson in the #42 Target Chevrolet, continued to impress everyone in his rookie Cup season and finished a strong seventh. “It was a good day for us.  We were a top-10 car the whole race. Had some good restarts there for most of the race.  Then that last one we had to restart on the outside and lost a spot.  Lined up fifth.  Denny got to third.

But still a good day.  The Target car was really good.  We were just too tight on short runs, then we just kind of would build tighter, looser off.  Everybody was struggling with grip out there.

It was fun.  Cool to finish in the top 10 at the Brickyard.  To see Jeff Gordon win is pretty special.  It's kind of like Junior winning the 500 this year.  It was a really good day for everybody and all the fans, too.  So happy about it.” Said Larson.

With his second wind of the season, Gordon leads the points standings by 24 over Dale Earnhardt, Jr. heading into Pocono.

Suburban Journals of Chicago Inc.
photos by Mark Rotor and Dan Peters

Suburban Journals of Chicago Inc.
photo by Dan Peters


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Local Car Race Tracks

Chicagoland Speedway and
Route 66 Speedway          Joliet, Illinois

Indy Racing at the Brickyard 
in Indianapolis, Indiana

Michigan International Speedway

Brickyard at Indy