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NASCAR 167 43 NASCAR Indianapolis Motor Speedway Cup race winners 30034074 Super stars Super+stars NASCAR

From the moment the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debuted at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, wins there have carried special weight for competitors.

From Jeff Gordon's inaugural win at the track to Jamie McMurray's stirring victory in 2010, drivers have embraced and coveted the Brickyard 400 trophy. In 17 races, 10 different drivers have won. Of those, seven have been NASCAR Cup champions at some point in their career.

As the series prepares to return to the track this weekend, we take a moment to look back at the past Cup winners at the track.

Brian Spurlock - USA TODAY Sports http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/07/27/072711-NASCAR-Cup-Race-Winners-GalleryIntro-JW_20110727103911246_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/07/27/072711-NASCAR-Cup-Race-Winners-GalleryIntro-JW_20110727103911246_107_80.JPG
NASCAR 167 43 NASCAR Indianapolis Motor Speedway Cup race winners 30034072 Jeff Gordon Jeff+Gordon NASCAR

Gordon leads all Cup contenders with four wins at the track.

After growing up in Indiana, he was excited that NASCAR added the venue to the schedule in 1994. He took advantage of the opportunity and went out and won the inaugural race at the track.

That was just the beginning for the four-time champ. He and his Hendrick Motorsports team returned to Victory Lane at the Brickyard in 1998, 2001 and 2004. Gordon went on to win the championship in both 1998 and 2001 as well.

Brian Spurlock - USA TODAY Sports http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/07/27/072711-NASCAR-Cup-Race-Winners-Gallery1-JW_20110727103911243_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/07/27/072711-NASCAR-Cup-Race-Winners-Gallery1-JW_20110727103911243_107_80.JPG
NASCAR 167 43 NASCAR Indianapolis Motor Speedway Cup race winners 30034073 Jimmie Johnson Jimmie+Johnson NASCAR

Johnson and his Hendrick Motorsports team have dominated much about NASCAR Sprint Cup racing in recent years — and the Brickyard 400 is no exception.

Johnson has a trio of wins at the track — in 2006, 2008 and 2009. Those are also all seasons in which he has won titles.

Brian Spurlock - USA TODAY Sports http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/07/27/072711-NASCAR-Cup-Race-Winners-Gallery4-JW_20110727103912247_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/07/27/072711-NASCAR-Cup-Race-Winners-Gallery4-JW_20110727103912247_107_80.JPG
NASCAR 167 43 NASCAR Indianapolis Motor Speedway Cup race winners 30034077 Dale Jarrett Dale+Jarrett NASCAR

Jarrett touted his wins at Indianapolis as special throughout his career, comparing his first time on the track there to Daytona.

He tallied a pair of wins at the track and endured a couple of setbacks that ended strong runs in other seasons. Jarrett won the Brickyard 400 in 1996 and again in 1999 — the latter being the season in which he earned his NASCAR Cup title.

Mark J. Rebilas - USA TODAY Sports http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/07/27/072711-NASCAR-Cup-Race-Winners-Gallery6-JW_20110727103923251_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/07/27/072711-NASCAR-Cup-Race-Winners-Gallery6-JW_20110727103923251_107_80.JPG
NASCAR 167 43 NASCAR Indianapolis Motor Speedway Cup race winners 30033028 Tony Stewart Tony+Stewart NASCAR

Stewart longed for a NASCAR trophy at Indianapolis.

He'd raced in the Indianapolis 500. He grew up near the track. This was the win he seemed to want as much as anything — perhaps as much as a Sprint Cup title.

He ended up with both. Stewart finally won the NASCAR race at Indianapolis in 2005, the season in which he earned his second Cup title, and enjoyed an emotional celebration. He won the race again in 2007.

Joe Robbins - USA TODAY Sports http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/07/27/072711-NASCAR-Cup-Race-Winners-Gallery3-JW_20110727103911244_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/07/27/072711-NASCAR-Cup-Race-Winners-Gallery3-JW_20110727103911244_107_80.JPG
NASCAR 167 43 NASCAR Indianapolis Motor Speedway Cup race winners 30034076 Dale Earnhardt Dale+Earnhardt NASCAR

Earnhardt was a man who won pretty much everything in NASCAR.

In 1995, in the second race at Indianapolis, he added the Brickyard 400 trophy to his legacy.

The start to the race was delayed by rain, but Earnhardt owned the field and easily stormed to his lone win in the prestigious race.

Brian Spurlock - USA TODAY Sports http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/07/27/072711-NASCAR-Cup-Race-Winners-Gallery2-JW_20110727103911245_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/07/27/072711-NASCAR-Cup-Race-Winners-Gallery2-JW_20110727103911245_107_80.JPG
NASCAR 167 43 NASCAR Indianapolis Motor Speedway Cup race winners 30034079 Bill Elliott Bill+Elliott NASCAR

Elliott not only added new life to his own NASCAR Sprint Cup career, but also brought team owner Ray Evernham and manufacturer Dodge glory with his Brickyard stunner.

Elliott and the group won at Pocono Raceway in 2002 — and followed that up with the victory in the Brickyard 400 the following week. It was an emotional win for the crew and a popular one for fans everywhere.

Mark J. Rebilas - USA TODAY Sports http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/07/27/072711-NASCAR-Cup-Race-Winners-Gallery9-JW_20110727103935255_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/07/27/072711-NASCAR-Cup-Race-Winners-Gallery9-JW_20110727103935255_107_80.JPG
NASCAR 167 43 NASCAR Indianapolis Motor Speedway Cup race winners 30033030 Kevin Harvick Kevin+Harvick NASCAR

Harvick was in his third full season of NASCAR Sprint Cup competition and had been slowly notching wins in the series.

But he was without a victory late in 2003 when he hit the jackpot. Harvick jumped past Matt Kenseth on a late restart and held off the field to win the race that year at Indianapolis.

With the victory, he became the first polesitter to win the Brickyard 400. It would be Harvick's lone win of the season, a year in which he finished fifth in the standings.

Sherryl Creekmore / NASCAR - http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/07/27/072711-NASCAR-Cup-Race-Winners-Gallery10-JW_20110727103936257_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/07/27/072711-NASCAR-Cup-Race-Winners-Gallery10-JW_20110727103936257_107_80.JPG
NASCAR 167 43 NASCAR Indianapolis Motor Speedway Cup race winners 30033029 Bobby Labonte Bobby+Labonte NASCAR

Labonte and his Joe Gibbs Racing team had everything going its way in 2000.

Strong and consistent, Labonte headed to Indianapolis with a victory at Rockingham early in the year already under his belt. In the Brickyard 400, he overtook Rusty Wallace late and pulled away for the victory.

Perhaps sparked by the win, Labonte went on to win twice more that season and took the 2000 title.

Dilip Vishwanat - USA TODAY Sports http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/07/27/072711-NASCAR-Cup-Race-Winners-Gallery8-JW_20110727103931253_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/07/27/072711-NASCAR-Cup-Race-Winners-Gallery8-JW_20110727103931253_107_80.JPG
NASCAR 167 43 NASCAR Indianapolis Motor Speedway Cup race winners 30034075 Jamie McMurray Jamie+McMurray NASCAR

McMurray not only elevated his own status in the sport, but also gave team owner Chip Ganassi a rare trifecta when he won the 2010 race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

McMurray had already won the prestigious season-opening Daytona 500, and Ganassi's team had won the Indianapolis 500. So he swept three of the major events on the IndyCar and NASCAR schedule with McMurray's victory.

For McMurray, it was an emotional victory with a celebration that was heartfelt and further endeared him to fans.

Andrew Weber - USA TODAY Sports http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/07/27/072711-NASCAR-Cup-Race-Winners-Gallery5-JW_20110727103912248_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/07/27/072711-NASCAR-Cup-Race-Winners-Gallery5-JW_20110727103912248_107_80.JPG
NASCAR 167 43 NASCAR Indianapolis Motor Speedway Cup race winners 30047113 Paul Menard Paul+Menard NASCAR

Paul Menard had yet to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race when he headed to the Brickyard 400 in 2011, but that would change by the end of the day. Menard gambled on fuel strategy in a race in which he'd already been among the leaders to take his first career victory.

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NASCAR 167 43 NASCAR Indianapolis Motor Speedway Cup race winners 30034078 Ricky Rudd Ricky+Rudd NASCAR

Ricky Rudd etched his name into the history books as both a driver and an owner with his performance at Indy.

In 1997, Rudd and crew chief Jim Long were gaining ground in the series. They had already won at Dover earlier in the year, then gambled on fuel mileage to take the Brickyard 400 crown for their second, and most prestigious, win of the season. 

Mark J. Rebilas - USA TODAY Sports http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/07/27/072711-NASCAR-Cup-Race-Winners-Gallery7-JW_20110727103923250_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/07/27/072711-NASCAR-Cup-Race-Winners-Gallery7-JW_20110727103923250_107_80.JPG
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