Re: the "Jeff Gordon has never won this race 500"
Texas is the Southwest? Denny Hamlin will never win a Nextel Cup Title? In 20 years no drivers from the American South will even be driving a Sprint Cup stock car? You're really off the deep end on this one buddy.
This international influx you see isn't being driven by the success of the series. With the exception of Franchitti, all the open wheel drivers coming to the sport are guys who couldn't cut it in their series anymore. Montoya, Carpentier, and etc are all drivers who were no longer in the top tier of their series, so they cut bait and ran to stock car racing. The only guy who I think will have any success (meaning Top 12 in the points) is going to be Sam Hornish Jr and that's because he's still young enough to learn the ropes before he gets to be over the hill.
I think you're one of the really annoying members of the "new" fanbase who think they know something about NASCAR, but in reality have very little idea of the history of the sport and it's drivers.