CONCORD, N.C. – Age is merely a number.
Jeff Gordon proved that in 2014, as the 43-year-old Sprint Cup veteran led his No. 24 team to one of its most memorable seasons in years.
Gordon has ample time to rest and prepare for 2015, when he continues his quest for a fifth Cup championship. But before the season kicks off, let’s take a look back on some of the highlights of Gordon’s 2014 season.
Trumping in top-10s
This season, Gordon consistently put on strong performances, even when he didn’t take home the checkered flag. He led the Sprint Cup field in top-10s, posting 23 finishes in that bracket. Gordon also beat out Cup champion Kevin Harvick for the best average finishing position (10.4) and was the only driver to earn a season average lower than 11.
Kissing the bricks
In 1994, a young Gordon knelt down and kissed the famous bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway to celebrate a win in the track’s inaugural NASCAR Cup race. Fast-forward 20 years and he’s doing the same thing; after starting from the outside pole, Gordon led 40 laps en route to Victory Lane at The Brickyard earlier this season. His first-place finish marked his fifth career victory at the Indiana track, which crowned him the winningest Cup driver at Indianapolis to-date.
"We’re a little bit older than we were 20 years ago, but this is a great win,” Hendrick Motorsports Owner Rick Hendrick said at the time. “I remember how good it felt. This one feels just as good.”
200th for Hendrick
With Gordon, Hendrick Motorsports reached another milestone this year; its 200th pole position. In the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Gordon powered his No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet SS at 180.747 mph to earn the organization’s 200th pole award. It also marked Gordon’s 77th career pole and his first at Homestead.
“It’s a great organization,” Gordon said of Hendrick Motorsports’ milestone. “We just never quit. We always are bringing great race cars and great power to the racetrack and just surrounded by good people, and that’s what contributes to wins and to poles.
When Gordon wasn’t celebrating in Victory Lane this season, he was often congratulating his crew on a runner-up finish. In 36 Sprint Cup events this year, Gordon finished first or second in approximately 33.33 percent of races, which beat out all of his Cup colleagues in the category.
One for the books
Gordon’s 2014 season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series was one that No. 24 fans will remember. He was consistently impressive in his runs, which caused him to lead the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings for 20 of 36 weeks. The 43-year-old driver earned more wins in 2014 than his 2012 and 2013 seasons combined and his three poles allowed him to post his best average starting position (9.0) since 2003. Gordon also was only one point away from contending for a fifth championship, a quest that he will pick up again next season.