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Can Gordon Drive Back to Top of NASCAR?

AP Photo

At 4433 Papa Joe Hendrick Boulevard in Charlotte, N.C., the championship banners hang from the rafters of the Team Center building, a cavernous hall where the 550 employees of Hendrick Motorsports frequently gather for luncheons and meetings. As you enter the building, the most recent title reminders are directly above you. There are Jimmie Johnson's five straight Cup banners, commemorating his dominating run from 2006 to '10. There's the 2003 Nationwide banner that Brian Vickers earned. Far down the line, almost obstructed from view by the other banners, is one from 2001--the last time Jeff Gordon drove his No. 24 Chevy to the Cup title.

Yes, the driver once derisively called "Boy Wonder" by Dale Earnhardt Sr. back in the 1990s, hasn't captured a championship in a dozen...

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