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Jeff Gordon aiming for any win, but especially for No. 5 at Indy

Jeff Gordon will take any kind of win he can get right now. After all, it has been 48 races since his most recent Sprint Cup victory.

But from the sound of it, if Gordon could pick when and where his next victory would be, his choice would be Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the Brickyard 400.

"There's no doubt," Gordon, 38, said this week. "It would be a huge, huge victory for us because of … not going to Victory Lane in a while."

It's not just about busting the slump, though.

Gordon, like many drivers, views the Brickyard race as one of the Sprint Cup's "majors." Some put it up there with Talladega and Darlington as special races. There are even those who put it up there with the Daytona 500.

Gordon's roots plunge deeply into the Indiana soil. His family moved from California to Pittsboro, about 30 miles west of Indianapolis, when he was a teenager.

"I wasn't born there," he said, "but went to high school there, growing up there. Not just that, but being born in California, racing was everything to me. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indy 500, guys like Rick Mears and A.J. Foyt, Johnny Rutherford, Al Unser, all those guys were heroes of mine that I aspired to be.

"Living in Indiana, racing around Indiana, Indianapolis Raceway Park, the fairgrounds, Bloomington, all over the place, it was every short- track, open-wheel … driver's dream to race at Indianapolis one day."

Gordon's dream came true. And to add to that dream, Gordon won the inaugural Brickyard 400 in 1994. He has gone on to win it three more times.

A fifth victory Sunday not only would be sweet and timely, he said, but also extremely possible.

Though Gordon has not won this year, he has had fast Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolets. He is second in points, 103 behind Kevin Harvick. And Gordon leads the series with 10 top-five finishes including the past five races.

"Look where we're at in the points, look at the top fives we've been putting together this year, especially recently," said Gordon, a four-time Cup champion. "So we're knocking on the door. The timing might be just right (to win at Indy).

Gordon's impressive Indy numbers go beyond the four victories. His average finish at the 2.5-mile flat track is 8.6 — only Indiana native Tony Stewart (8.5) is better.

But Gordon has led 440 laps, more than double anybody else.

It all seems to add up to a harmonic convergence kind of weekend for Gordon.

"It's not just about where we're at in points now," he said. "We need those bonus points (to start the Chase for the Championship) to really prove to ourselves and everyone else that we can compete for this championship. I can't think of a better place to get 10 of those bonus points than this weekend at the Brickyard."

Best on the bricks

The drivers with the most victories at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with their series (IndyCar covers all preceding series):

Michael Schumacher (F1) 5

A.J. Foyt (IndyCar) 4

Jeff Gordon (Sprint Cup) 4

Rick Mears (IndyCar) 4

Al Unser Sr. (IndyCar) 4

Helio Castroneves (IndyCar) 3

Ji. Johnson (Sprint Cup) 3

Mark Martin (IROC) 3

Louis Meyer (IndyCar) 3

Johnny Rutherford (IndyCar) 3

Wilbur Shaw (IndyCar) 3

Bobby Unser (IndyCar) 3

Sprint Cup points

Through 19 of 36 races. The top 12 drivers through 26 races make the Chase for the Championship.

Driver Pts. Back

Kevin Harvick 2,745—

Jeff Gordon 2,642 103

Jimmie Johnson 2,557 188

Denny Hamlin 2,542 203

Kurt Busch 2,524 221

Kyle Busch 2,488 257

Jeff Burton 2,465 280

Matt Kenseth 2,446 299

Tony Stewart 2,389 356

Carl Edwards 2,345 400

Greg Biffle 2,292 453

Clint Bowyer 2,286 459

Dale Earnhardt Jr.2,271 474

Mark Martin 2,249 496

David Reutimann 2,190 555

Up next

Brickyard 400, 1 p.m. Sunday, Indianapolis Motor Speedway TV: ESPN

Jeff Gordon aiming for any win, but especially for No. 5 at Indy 07/23/10 [Last modified: Friday, July 23, 2010 11:50pm]
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