Sweet kiss of success: Fifth Indy win could propel Gordon to fifth title

Jeff Gordon kisses the bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with his son, Leo (left), and daughter Ella after winning his record fifth Brickyard 400 on Sunday.

Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Sunday’s race at the Brickyard 400 was an awfully big win for not only Hendrick Motorsports but for Jeff Gordon personally. I think now that he has multiple wins this year you have to put him up there high on the list of real contenders to win the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship.

You hear us more and more talk about the guys who have won multiple races like Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski being your favorites entering the Chase. Now Jeff enters that conversation as well. I still maintain you are going to have to win more than one or two races in the 10 Chase races, if you want to win the championship.

As I also keep saying week in and week out, there may still be someone laying in the weeds that we haven’t heard from yet that might make a lot of noise in the Chase. This might be someone who hasn’t won a race yet or someone who has only one win this year. If that driver gets hot at the right time — and obviously the right time is those 10 Chase races — they could be the wild card that no one saw coming.

If you don’t believe me, again simply go back to 2011 where Tony Stewart barely made it into the Chase, got hot winning five out of the final 10 races and won his third championship. That’s still, in my book, the stuff of NASCAR legends.

I don’t know if we’ve seen the confidence in Jeff Gordon that we are seeing right now in a long, long time. I think this second win will really take him to another level. Not only does Jeff believe in his race team, but he believes in himself — which is as important as anything. He continues to sit atop the points week after week, but we all know that means absolutely nothing when the Chase starts and they re-rack the order based on the wins during the regular season with the bonus points that come with them.

Plus this year will be different for everyone involved because of the new elimination format for the Chase that NASCAR is implementing.

I just think now that he’s won multiple races and we still have six races to go before the regular season is over and the Chase begins, I think you have to put Jeff Gordon pretty high on the list of potential contenders for this 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. His latest historic fifth win at Indianapolis could be a springboard to even greater things — such as a fifth Cup title.

Jeff Gordon celebrates in Victory Lane after Sunday’s win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway