Looking back at Gordon’s legendary career

Jeff Gordon
Jeff Gordon answers questions during a news conference after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series was canceled at Daytona International Speedway, Saturday, July 4, 2015, in Daytona Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Terry Renna)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Jeff Gordon will be remembered as one of NASCAR’s best drivers. Only Richard Petty and David Pearson won more races than Gordon has.

Five of Gordon’s 92 victories came at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Maybe he can add one more Brickyard title. If it happens, it will be his last.

In January, a tweet from Gordon revealed this year will be the last time he competes for a championship.

He told people he “wanted to give one more year to my team, to Rick, the sponsors, the fans, my family and myself.”

He said “it seemed like the timing was right to do those things and start the next chapter – and the next chapter, you can’t really start until you really finalize that decision.”

At the age of 43, the “Pride of Pittsboro” didn’t call the announcement his “retirement.” He stopped short of saying he won’t ever race again. But he knows there are a lot of special racetracks where he won’t compete any more. That’s why the final laps at Indy will mean so much to him.

“That whole Brickyard week is going to be a great one,” he said.

Gordon is coming off one of his best seasons in several years.

Indianapolis track historian Donald Davidson still enjoys telling the story of Gordon’s first win in Indianapolis.

“When he won the first Brickyard in ’94, that was huge at the time,” Donaldson said. “After the race, he was back in his room. He ordered a pizza for delivery with pineapple toppings. The people said, ‘Sir, we know the address there. I don’t know how long it will take us to get there.”

Gordon says, “I know. I won it. I’m looking out the window and the traffic is gone.”

Donaldson said, after that, “the pizza arrived on the house.”

Gordon added another IMS memory this year. He drove the pace car for the Indianapolis 500. Before the race that morning, Gordon told 24-Hour News 8 “to be part of (the race) that way means a lot to me” because “I would have loved to race here at the Indy 500. That was a dream of mine when I was a kid, before I even lived here in Indiana.”

NASCAR gave him the chance he wanted.

“Racing at the Brickyard 400, winning that inaugural event, winning it four other times after that has fulfilled pretty much all the dreams I had. This place means so much to me,” said Gordon.

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