Season finish: 6th
2014 Season Stats: 4 Wins, 14 Top-5s, 23 Top-10s, 3 Poles.
What went right: In a season that reminded us of his 1990s glory days, the four-time Sprint Cup champion held the points lead for much of the regular season. He earned three victories during that span but none were bigger than his fifth career triumph in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis, which elevated him further among the ranks of Indy legends. Gordon rolled on into the Chase and earned a fourth 2014 win in the Challenger Round finale at Dover; he would then score three more runner-up finishes in the homestretch at Charlotte, Martinsville, and Phoenix.
In summary, he showed us why he’ll go down as a legend in the sport and a likely first-ballot Hall of Famer.
What went wrong: Late in the Eliminator Round middle race at Texas, Brad Keselowski and Gordon made contact after the former went for a piece of real estate on a restart. Gordon’s tire subsequently went down and relegated him to 29th; you know the rest of the story. Then, one week later in the Eliminator finale at Phoenix, Gordon’s runner-up finish wasn’t enough to put him in the Championship Round at Homestead after Ryan Newman shoved Kyle Larson aside on the final lap to finish 11th and earn the final Championship spot.
Beyond those instances, there was one notable touch of negative: Gordon’s back woes, which came to the fore after spasms forced him out of Coca-Cola 600 practice in May. He would run the 600-mile race, but the back episode touched off talk of Gordon having to retire if those issues persist. If he wants to eventually claim a fifth Cup title, it’s something he’ll have to stay on top of.
2015 Prospectus: Despite those cruel twists of fate at Texas and Phoenix, Gordon and the 24 camp (led by crew chief Alan Gustafson) know they had a 2014 season they can feel good about and will be very eager to keep up the pace in 2015. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see them bag multiple wins again.
The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.
IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.
This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.
INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists
IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.
“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.
“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”
It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.