Jeff Gordon readies for the Brickyard in surprising return

At a time when NASCAR is losing some of its biggest heroes to retirement, suddenly two IN legends will be racing at the Brickyard for, theoretically at least, the last time.

“As connected as he can be in literally living it and going into a management meeting or some kind of office meeting and be able to sit there with all honesty and a fresh opinion and say, ‘Yeah, this is what we need to do, ‘ I think is helpful”, Johnson said. He’s won there five times, and he won the inaugural race back in 1994.

Following the successful 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 won by rookie Alexander Rossi, this year’s Brickyard 400 could witness the last time Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart will be competing in the event. His previous best season for laps led in 36 races was 581 in 2007, while past year he led 567. He is just two years removed from his win at the brickyard, and he has five career wins at the track which is more than any other driver. The victor of each race, as well as their crew members, kiss the line of bricks at the start-finish line.

Gordon may not have much experience with Crew Chief Greg Ives, but he’s returning to the same team where he spent his entire career.

Kyle Busch won both poles on Saturday.

How would a Gordon win influence the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship, if at all?

“If you go back to 2014 even though we had more power, the traces are more similar”, Gordon said. “But that would have been awesome. This is certainly the last thing that was going to happen”. I’m here until he gets back and I hope that’s soon. The least he could have done is drive for me.

“We are looking for big stories because you know that when they come along it creates a lot of buzz and interest and gives you a lot to talk about”, Gordon said, per ESPN.com’s John Oreovicz.

Since SHR does not have an Xfinity team, with Gordon coming out of retirement to assist the Hendrick stable, Stewart said he’d open to exploring a substitute role similar if he’s ever faced with a similar challenge. The No. 18 Toyota was powerful and led the way for a Joe Gibbs Racing assault on the oval.

“I think between Jeff agreeing to drive the vehicle and Junior walking in the shop, the team is really excited”, Hendrick said.

Although Stewart is bidding farewell as a participant at his home track, he attempted to shift the attention from sentiment to the task at hand.

A team spokeswoman said Earnhardt will not take questions this week or next and that Gordon is not expected to speak publicly until Friday in Indy. “I’d love nothing more than to try to win here again”. I’m not amped up. “If you’ve got a good race auto, you can make the most of your opportunities no matter where you start, but it always makes it that much easier by starting up front”. He is fresh off a dirt win at Eldora Wednesday night, now sets his sights on The Brickyard.

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