Ask your average sports fan what they know about racing, and the first think most will say is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. There is just something special about that famed yard of bricks.
For NASCAR drivers there is no doubt that the Daytona is number one. And even though NASCAR has only been coming to Indy for 18 years, it has quickly become two, and in many drivers eyes, even one "a."
"It ranks up there, possibly number one," said four time Indy winner Jeff Gordon.
It makes sense. Long before NASCAR actually started running the bricks, kids who loved racing dreamed of racing at Indy. It has long been the gold standard for speed an performance. And even when the Indy racing league itself lost some it's prestige, the Indianapolis Motor peedway has still held on to it's glamour.
"It's a special place," said Ryan Newman and Indiana native. "To me it's special because of the asphalt the bricks, what ever you want it to be. All of the people who have walked in and out of that garage area. The history of all auto racing at that brickyard is what makes it special for me."
His boss, fellow Indiana native and two time Indy winner Tony Stewart agrees.
"It's always probably the most intense weekend of my year next to the Daytona 500 weekend," said Stewart. "It's a place where I definitely first hand know the history of the place there and know what it means to win at Indy."
When it comes to the NASCAR history there, the Brickyard is a place where the cream usually rises to the top. Gordan has 4 wins, Stewart two, and Jimmie Johnson three. It's also a place where it has historically has been very hard to make a pass. Most winners start inside the top 10.
To win at Indy is so special, I mean where else do the drivers and the teams actually go on the start finish line and kiss the track?
Said Gordon, "Anytime I am ever asked about my favorite win or my biggest win of my career or the most significant one that one (at the first Brickyard 400) always rises to the top."