By admin | August 8, 2014
By Richard Allen
Not that it really matters, but Jeff Gordon is currently leading the Sprint Cup standings 21 races into the 2014 season. Of course, under the current NASCAR championship system, leading the points at any stage of the season is not as meaningful as it one was, but the fact that this driver is doing so and experiencing a bit of a resurgence at this stage of his career is good to see.
It’s not like Gordon had disappeared or anything over the last few years, but he certainly has not been the dominating driver that he was during the 1990s. At the age of 43, he likely will never be that driver again. However, it is good to see him competitive on a weekly basis once more rather than just on occasion.
Don’t misunderstand my point here. I am not simply some gushing Jeff Gordon fan who is glad that my favorite driver is once again sitting atop the Sprint Cup standings. As a matter of fact, I have never considered myself a ”fan” of this particular driver nor would I call myself a fan of the Hendrick Motorsports organization he drives for. However, I have always respected his accomplishments and I do regard him as one of the all time greats in the sport.
My point here is that Gordon is good for the sport of auto racing. His is a name that people who don’t follow NASCAR on a regular basis immediately recognize and relate to. Thus, it is good for racing when he does well.
And more, his win in the Brickyard 400 earlier this season added to the already impressive legacy he will one day leave behind. It was yet another ‘crown jewel’ win for a driver who has had so many highlights on the biggest of NASCAR’s stages.
And further, Gordon has now reached that stage of his career in which the “haters” have mellowed a bit. He is now recognized by many as a grand ole champion rather than a villain. All drivers tend to reach that stage during the latter years of their careers in which the boos once heard at the introduction of their names are replaced by the polite applause of those who were once most opposed to the mere mention of their names.
Not that Gordon is washed up and simply riding out the last days, but he is now more thought of as a respected hero than he once was.
Going into this year’s Chase, none of us truly know what to expect under this new elimination type format. But the fact that Jeff Gordon is a contender to win on seemingly a week to week basis would tend to make me think that he is serious threat to win his fifth Sprint Cup title. And I would not be opposed to that at all.
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