The 'Drive For Five' is very much alive....but beware the No. 48

A clash of the titans could be in NASCAR's very near future.

The 'Drive For Five' is very much alive....but beware the No. 48
Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson
Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon
Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon, Hendricks Motorsports Chevrolet
Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon
Race winner Jeff Gordon, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Race winner Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Race winner Jeff Gordon, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Race winner Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Jeff Gordon, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Jeff Gordon, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet

Jeff Gordon's 13 year crusade to capture that illusive fifth championship has just been spring-boarded by his record-setting fifth victory in the Brickyard 400. In three of his previous four wins at Indy, Gordon went on to be crowned champion that same year.

But beware the No. 48. Jeff Gordon is riding a massive wave of momentum after his triumph at Indianapolis, but the always dangerous No. 48 of Jimmie Johnson lurks in the shadows, ready to pounce.

Jimmie Johnson has had a very peculiar year thus far. He's been out of the spotlight during most races, taking a back seat to his teammates Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon, while they share all the glory.

Gordon has been fast everywhere, reminiscent of the days when he would dominate the sport in that rainbow-colored No. 24 machine. Could this finally be his year? Possibly, but there's one major road block standing in his way...and they call him 'Six-Time.'

Don't count out 'Six-Time'

It took Jimmie Johnson 12 races to win a race this season. Up until that point, his presence was somewhat ignored and he became almost invisible as other drivers led the way.

Then he won. Then he won again, and again. And just like that, the No. 48 went back into hibernation, leading a grand total of one lap in the last five races. To most, this looks like an inconsistent team that is struggling to find their footing. I see it very differently however.

Chad Knaus is simply experimenting. We see it every year. Jimmie Johnson runs okay, wins a few races, and then they flip the switch when it's time to ratchet back up to championship form. He suddenly morphs into an unstoppable winning machine, putting together an impeccable ten races as he chases the title, rarely faltering.

His results shouldn't ease the concerns of his rivals, but should actually be very disconcerting to them. His recent results show that they know they have something they can win with, and have now resorted to looking for something even better than what they already have. 

2014 could finally be the year that we all get what we've been waiting for. An all-out fight for the championship in the closing laps of the season finale between Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. A clash of the titans if you will.

We were teased with such a matchup in 2007 when Gordon went into the finale within striking distance of his teammate, but Jimmie was easily able to hold on in a fairly monotonous end to the year.

What do you think?

The question I pose to you the fans is this...should Homestead come down to a brutal fight betwen Johnson and Gordon, who would emerge victorious? Jeff Gordon has 90 wins, four titles, but hasn't sat at the head table since 2001. Johnson is a 69-time race winner, winning six of the last eight championships.

One is searching for one last shot at NASCAR glory, the other is pursuing stock car racing immortality as he chases a seventh championship. So who would win and who would lose? Motorsport.com is curious as to what you think, so click the links below and let your opinion be known!

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