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Posted: Sunday, July 27th 2014 at 7:13pm

Jeff Gordon scores record fifth Brickyard 400 win at Indianapolis

By Jenna Fryer, AP Auto Racing Writer
EMAIL STORY CONTACT EDITOR PRINT
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Jeff Gordon kisses the bricks on the start-finish line at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after winning a record fifth Brickyard 400 in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. / Photo: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images
INDIANAPOLIS, IN With a fifth Brickyard 400 victory on the line Sunday, Jeff Gordon looked like the driver he was 20 years ago.

Gordon nailed the final restart of the race no given because restarts have been Gordon's Achilles heel to pass Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne with 17 laps remaining at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

His power move from the outside lane past Kahne put Gordon out front for good, and he kicked it into cruise control for a NASCAR-record fifth victory at historic Indy. The win came on the 20th anniversary celebration of Gordon's win in the inaugural Brickyard 400, and on "Jeff Gordon Day" as declared by the Mayor of Indianapolis.

"I told him this morning that this was his day," said team owner Rick Hendrick.

The win moved Gordon into a tie with Michael Schumacher, whose five Formula One victories at Indy had been the gold standard.

"God, I finally had the restart of my life," Gordon screamed on his radio. He'd botched one earlier in the race, and the four-time NASCAR champion has struggled with restarts for some years.

So when a late caution gave Gordon one last shot at Kahne, who dominated and led a race-high 70 laps, Gordon and his No. 24 team knew the driver was in control of his own destiny.

Crew chief Alan Gustafson talked fuel mileage with the driver Gordon had enough to get to the finish, and Kahne was cutting it close but Gustafson said nothing about the pressure looming over the final restart.

"The restart is going to be the race, really," Gustafson conceded in a television interview moments before the field went green.

Nobody had any reason to worry as Gordon nailed it when he needed it most.

"I'm not very good on restarts and wasn't very good today, and I finally made the restart of my life when it counted most," Gordon said in Victory Lane. "I knew we had a great race car, we just needed to get out front."

Kahne plummeted to fifth after the restart, then ran out of gas on the final lap and had to nurse his car home to a sixth-place finish. He said he erred in picking the inside line for the restart.

"I should have chosen the top (lane), obviously," he said. "I pretty much let Jeff control that last restart. I thought I made the right decision."

Kyle Busch finished second, 2.325 seconds behind Gordon, and was followed by Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth.

"It is just a small victory, we're still just inching our way there," Hamlin said about JGR's strong run.

Joey Logano was fifth in the highest-finishing car from Team Penske, which brought Juan Pablo Montoya to the race in an effort to get the win. Roger Penske has won a record 15 Indianapolis 500s, but is winless in the Brickyard. Montoya was never a factor and finished 23rd.

Kyle Larson, who grew up a Gordon fan, finished seventh and likened Gordon's win on Sunday to Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s season-opening win in the Daytona 500.

"To see Jeff Gordon win is pretty special it's kind of like Junior winning the 500 this year," Larson said.

Kevin Harvick, the pole sitter and the driver with the car most everyone thought would be tough to beat, was eighth and followed by Earnhardt and rookie Austin Dillon.

Carl Edwards finished 15th hours after Roush-Fenway Racing finally confirmed he was leaving the team at the end of the season.

Gordon, who won NASCAR's first race at storied Indy in 1994, also won the Brickyard in 1998, 2001 and 2004. There had been a lot of fanfare leading up to this race, though, as speedway officials celebrated Gordon's 20th anniversary win, who was 23 when he picked up just his second career victory. Eight days short of his 43rd birthday and the father of two young children, Gordon has 90 victories, third on the career list.

A tinge of gray at his temples, and his hat on backward, Gordon said it took extreme focus over the final 10 laps not to prematurely celebrate and cough away the win. It meant tuning out the crowd, which was on its feet and cheering him to the finish.

"I was trying not to let it get to me and not think about it too much," he said. "And yet you can't help it. It's such a big place and such an important victory and a crucial moment in the season and the championship, and those emotions take over.

"This one is for all those fans throughout the years and all weekend long they're saying 'We believe you can get (championship) number five.' We got (Brickyard) No. 5!"

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Indianapolis, IN
Brickyard 400 - July 27, 2014


(Start position in parentheses)

1. (2) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 160 laps, 138.4 rating, 47 points, $434,376.
2. (12) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 160, 116.8, 42, $373,781.
3. (27) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 160, 109.4, 42, $307,890.
4. (13) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 160, 104.1, 40, $303,751.
5. (9) Joey Logano, Ford, 160, 109, 40, $266,806.
6. (10) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 160, 132.7, 40, $231,130.
7. (15) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 160, 104.4, 38, $226,675.
8. (1) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 160, 114.6, 37, $230,288.
9. (23) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 160, 83.2, 35, $196,255.
10. (17) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 160, 89.7, 35, $228,891.
11. (4) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 160, 88.9, 33, $188,455.
12. (3) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 160, 85.3, 32, $218,288.
13. (19) Greg Biffle, Ford, 160, 71.9, 31, $209,330.
14. (11) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 160, 91.9, 30, $217,691.
15. (18) Carl Edwards, Ford, 160, 79, 29, $183,555.
16. (16) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 160, 87.9, 29, $201,046.
17. (6) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 160, 81.7, 27, $199,838.
18. (36) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 160, 62.7, 26, $181,713.
19. (5) Brian Vickers, Toyota, 160, 90.3, 25, $201,355.
20. (24) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 160, 73.5, 24, $196,144.
21. (41) Aric Almirola, Ford, 160, 64.2, 23, $197,416.
22. (22) Marcos Ambrose, Ford, 160, 67.9, 22, $185,725.
23. (8) Juan Pablo Montoya, Ford, 160, 58.5, 21, $154,330.
24. (21) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 160, 54.4, 20, $193,030.
25. (25) Martin Truex Jr., Chevrolet, 160, 66.7, 19, $184,013.
26. (28) Michael McDowell, Ford, 160, 51.8, 18, $151,855.
27. (31) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 159, 58.2, 17, $178,088.
28. (7) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 159, 69.7, 16, $152,555.
29. (30) Josh Wise, Chevrolet, 159, 44.2, 15, $151,955.
30. (37) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 158, 41.1, 0, $152,805.
31. (33) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 158, 48.5, 14, $164,813.
32. (39) Cole Whitt, Toyota, 158, 35.5, 12, $150,155.
33. (26) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 158, 34.8, 11, $169,338.
34. (29) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 158, 47, 10, $174,094.
35. (38) David Ragan, Ford, 158, 36.6, 9, $164,177.
36. (34) David Gilliland, Ford, 157, 40.9, 8, $154,530.
37. (43) Bobby Labonte, Chevrolet, 157, 34.5, 7, $146,113.
38. (42) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 156, 29.9, 6, $139,450.
39. (40) Travis Kvapil, Ford, 156, 26.9, 5, $135,450.
40. (35) Alex Bowman, Toyota, 156, 24.8, 4, $131,450.
41. (32) Ryan Truex, Toyota, 149, 34.2, 3, $127,450.
42. (14) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, rear gear, 114, 67, 2, $131,725.
43. (20) Trevor Bayne, Ford, accident, 96, 50, 0, $119,950.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 150.297 mph.

Time of Race: 2 hours, 39 minutes, 41 seconds.

Margin of Victory: 2.325 seconds.

Caution Flags: 4 for 16 laps.

Lead Changes: 15 among 9 drivers.

Lap Leaders: K.Harvick 1; J.Gordon 2-21; J.Logano 22-31; K.Kahne 32-37; K.Larson 38-42; A.Dillon 43; D.Hamlin 44-54; K.Harvick 55-65; D.Hamlin 66-72; K.Kahne 73-98; C.Bowyer 99-101; K.Kahne 102-126; J.Gordon 127-129; M.Annett 130; K.Kahne 131-143; J.Gordon 144-160.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Led, Laps Led): K.Kahne, 4 times for 70 laps; J.Gordon, 3 times for 40 laps; D.Hamlin, 2 times for 18 laps; K.Harvick, 2 times for 12 laps; J.Logano, 1 time for 10 laps; K.Larson, 1 time for 5 laps; C.Bowyer, 1 time for 3 laps; A.Dillon, 1 time for 1 lap; M.Annett, 1 time for 1 lap.

Wins: J.Johnson, 3; Bra.Keselowski, 3; D.Earnhardt Jr., 2; C.Edwards, 2; J.Gordon, 2; K.Harvick, 2; J.Logano, 2; A.Almirola, 1; Ku.Busch, 1; Ky.Busch, 1; D.Hamlin, 1.

Top 12 in Points: 1. J.Gordon, 717; 2. D.Earnhardt Jr., 693; 3. Bra.Keselowski, 666; 4. M.Kenseth, 661; 5. J.Johnson, 628; 6. Ky.Busch, 609; 7. R.Newman, 606; 8. C.Edwards, 603; 9. J.Logano, 591; 10. C.Bowyer, 577; 11. D.Hamlin, 572; 12. K.Harvick, 565.
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