INDIANAPOLIS — Two legacies ended when the checkered flag dropped on the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 on Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart, who have a combined seven NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships between them, both competed in their final premier series races at IMS on Sunday, and closed the statbooks on their legendary careers at the century-old, history-laden 2.5 mile oval.
Gordon, who has competed in every Brickyard 400 contested, including winning the inaugural running in 1994, made his final start at Indianapolis in a substitute role for the sidelined Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet.
Despite struggling on restarts, Gordon’s swan song at the track produced a 13th-place finish, leaving the veteran smiling following the 400-mile event and closing his IMS career with a 10.0 average finish through 23 appearances at the circuit.
Gordon’s mark on the track includes a series-leading five victories (1994, 1998, 2001, 2004, & 2014), 12 top-five finishes and three pole awards, all scored during his tenure in the No. 24 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports.
“It was better than last year,” Gordon said. “On one-hand I’m relieved that this is over and on the other hand I would have liked it to have gone a little bit better. I’m looking forward to going to Pocono [next week].”
On the other side of the spectrum, Stewart, who has competed in every Brickyard 400 since his rookie season in 1999, started from the third position and put closure to his Indianapolis career by rallying from a speeding penalty to finish 11th — giving the Hoosier native a 9.7 average finish in 18 starts at the historic track.
During his tenure in his home state, Stewart won twice — in 2005 and again in 2007, both in the No. 20 Home Depot entry for Joe Gibbs Racing — along with seven top five results. He also completed all the scheduled laps in his respective starts — 2895, to be precise, with no severe mishaps.
“It was an awesome weekend. Everything went the way we wanted it to just came up short today. I had fun all day and had fun all weekend. I can’t thank everyone at Chevrolet and Mobil 1 and IMS, everybody that was with us this weekend.”
“Everybody, Drew Brown (Stewart’s PR manager), everybody tried to make my weekend as easy as possible. It really gave me the opportunity to savor the moment and enjoy it.”
Between the pair, two indelible marks and two legendary careers have been forever imprinted on both the Yard of Bricks and the fans visiting IMS, creating an everlasting page of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway history books and ensuring their Hoosier legacies will never be forgotten.
About the Writer
Marshall Gabell is the Mid-Atlantic Correspondent for Race Chaser Online, and was also formerly the public relations director for NASCAR Next member Austin Hill. Gabell is currently attending Stephen Decatur High School in Ocean City, Maryland, completing his sophomore year. He is just 15 years old.
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