In 2001 when Jeff Gordon won his last championship, fans and the media began the mantra “Drive for Five”.
For years, Gordon’s fans spent the beginning of the season chanting the famous battle cry; hoping, praying, and wishing for their favorite driver to win the elusive fifth title.
That was until Jimmie Johnson came along and has gone on to win four championships in a row. Now Johnson fans are claiming their driver will complete the drive for five first.
Since then, Gordon has finished ahead of Johnson just once, in 2002.
“It’s a bittersweet thing because as an (owner), I’m proud of what the team has accomplished,” he says of the No. 48 team’s sustained success. “As a driver, we won the championship in ’01 when they ran their first race. (In) ’02, I finished ahead of Johnson in points.”
Gordon, who is listed as the co-owner on the No. 48, knows what the critics say and think but he also knows what his team is capable of.
Johnson, meanwhile, has won a historic four championships in a row and is showing no signs of slowing down.
All good things will come to an end. 2010 will and could be Johnson’s toughest challenge. Not only is he is going for five in a row, but the competition is the best this sport has ever seen.
In the NASCAR Sprint Cup series, the drive for five will officially begin on Sunday afternoon. Both Gordon and Johnson are hoping that another driver does not spoil their title runs.
In the Camping World Truck Series, there is another drive for five to be paying attention to.
Ron Hornaday is heading into Daytona as the defending series champion. He returns to the track on Friday night as the series champion.
After a dominating performance in 2009 that saw him win five races in a row and lead the series for most of the 2009 campaign, Hornaday is ready to defend his crown and continue to make history in the CWTS. Like Gordon and Johnson, Hornaday’s competition is just as tough.
All three of them are Hall of Fame drivers. All three of them are hoping one of them can complete the drive for five.
For Gordon, it’s the elusive title in what is a Hall of Fame career. For Johnson, it’s continuing his dominating run and rewriting the history books.
For Hornaday, it is continuing to set the bar in the CWTS higher and higher.
The best of NASCAR all battling for one title; the first to complete the “drive for five."