Who's best right now at Hendrick? Hint: It's not Junior or Jimmie
Jeff Gordon and the No. 24 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series are leading the way now at Hendrick Motorsports, writes Jeff Hammond.
Jeff Gordon (left) celebrates with team owner Rick Hendrick after winning the Brickyard 400.
Rainier Ehrhardt / Getty Images North America
By Jeff Hammond
When you look collectively at Hendrick Motorsports, you have to say right now the cat who is the best over there is the one who just won the Brickyard 400. Naturally I am talking about our four-time series champion Jeff Gordon. When you really stop and look at what he and the No. 24 team have done all year long, well, the numbers are pretty impressive.
In the 20 races we have run so far in this 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, Jeff has two wins, nine top-five finishes and 14 times out of those 20 races to date, he has finished in the top 10. The wins and all the top-10 finishes are a clear indication of how solid the No. 24 has performed all year long.
Earlier this year we saw Dale Earnhardt Jr. win the Daytona 500, and then he backed it up with a second victory this season. Then his teammate Jimmie Johnson got red hot during the month of May and into early June. I think that has led to a tendency by the most of us to overlook the overall performance of the No. 24 team. He's sat at the top of the points most of the season, but it wasn't until early May that he finally put that first win on the board at Kansas. Now he joins both Jimmie and Dale Jr. as multiple race winners in 2014 at Hendrick Motorsports.
When you break it down by the numbers, the No. 24 is a classic example of how to win a championship. When it's not your day at the racetrack, you still have to finish well. Again, taking out the two wins, of the 20 races run, Jeff still has finished in the top 10 on 12 occasions. Now sure, the focus is and always should be on wins, but you still have to be consistent, and the No. 24 is clearly that.
Today, Jeff Gordon and the entire No. 24 team are making a solid Drive For Five. No, I'm not talking about winning the Brickyard 400 five times, because they just accomplished that Sunday. What I mean by Drive For Five is I believe Jeff is going to be a serious contender in this year's Chase, to win his fifth NASCAR Cup championship.
Jeff is showing everyone even as a veteran he still has the passion and competitive fire to go out there and get this job done. I think it's great to see him leading his team the way he is with a renewed passion. At this moment, Jeff Gordon and the No. 24 team are the ones to beat at Hendrick Motorsports.