By JENNA FRYER
INDIANAPOLIS — Long before Jimmie Johnson arrived on the NASCAR scene, Jeff Gordon was the fastest thing on wheels.
He was the “Wonder Boy” who racked up wins at a record place. He brought the southern sport to Madison Avenue and became such a household name that even rapper Nelly name-dropped Gordon in a song.
Gordon won all the big races, collected four championships in seven years and had 58 victories before his 30th birthday.
Then his pace began to slow, the rest of the field caught up to him and Johnson moved into the Hendrick Motorsports shop as the new kid on the block. Gordon hasn’t won a title since, while Johnson has won five.
Now, 13 years after Gordon launched “The Drive for 5,” Gordon is on track to collect that elusive fifth title.
The Sprint Cup points leader won Sunday’s Brickyard 400, a race that often gives a preview of the championship. Nine times in 21 years, the winner at Indianapolis Motor Speedway went on to hoist the Cup at the end of the year.