Four-time champion Jeff Gordon says that if he wins the championship this year, he won’t necessarily look at being a five-time champion.
Gordon’s previous four titles came under the old, season-long style of points. He’s never won a title under the Chase, although many are quick to point out he would have won again had the Chase not been used.
Here’s what Gordon said about if he won the crown this year (or in the future)
“I think any time that you make that drastic of a change, it’s a bit of a shock. I can’t say I was quite prepared for it. But when Nextel came along and everything was changed quite a bit, it gave it a good opportunity to make a big drastic change. Sprint has been able to really follow that up with a lot of excitement. I think it’s the right thing to do for the sport. As a competitor, it took me a little while to adjust to that. I don’t feel like anything owes me. The only thing that I really feel is that because it’s such a drastic change that even if we win the championship this year, I don’t think you can count it as five. I think you count it as one and you count the others as four, you know. It’s separated.
“To me, the history has changed and how you go about the championship and who is crowned as the champion is totally different. And so I think it’s more challenging than it’s ever been. It’s very competitive and extremely exciting to see 12 guys going for it over 10 races in a play-off type system; I think it’s where our sport needs to be, especially to be able to compete with the other major sports. And it comes down to Homestead which is great for the fans and the competitors and everybody. But if I win a Sprint Cup, which I hope I do, and I want to really bad, I’m personally going to count it a little bit differently than maybe what the stats and record books are going to show.”
OK, so how do you see it? If Gordon wins a title will he be a five-time champ or not to you? What about Jimmie Johnson? All three of his titles are in the Chase. He and Cale Yarborough are the only drivers to win three consecutive Cup titles (Yarborough did it with the old season-long format). Are their titles equal? D oes Yarborough’s mean more because it was the an entire season? Or is Johnson’s more meaningful because the points were reset and he had to beat 9-11 other drivers over 10 weeks to capture the crown? How do you see it?