Saturday, January 31, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Gordon shows he’s contender in NASCAR title chase

Jeff Gordon

Jeff Gordon climbs into his race car for a practice session for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Pocono Raceway, Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014, Long Pond, Pa. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

By
From page B2 | August 03, 2014 |

LONG POND, Pa. — Jeff Gordon turned a nostalgic weekend at the Brickyard into a powerful reminder that he can still win NASCAR’s biggest races.

Oh, and a fifth championship.

But for all the proof that Gordon is still a driver to contend with in a championship push, he realizes he’s not in the same physical condition when he won his first Brickyard in 1994. Gordon turns 43 on Monday with an achy back that he feels when settling behind the wheel of the No. 24 Chevrolet.

“It’s not great, that’s for sure,” Gordon said.

Gordon hasn’t been the same since he felt consistent, shooting back pain before the Coca-Cola 600 in May. He cut short his practice sessions, had treatments and needed a standby driver.

Gordon had serious issues years ago in his lower spine and returned to full strength thanks to anti-inflammatory medication and workouts with a trainer. He drove in pain during a winless 2008 season and briefly contemplated retirement.

For all his back woes, Gordon said he never felt the stabbing pain like he did at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“I don’t think my back is ever going to be the same after what happened at Charlotte,” Gordon said. “I don’t know what exactly transpired there, but it’s not the same. And I have to be much more careful. I’m just having to treat it more with ice and (stimulation) and be more careful and do more stretching. Is it going to flare-up again? It could. But I’m just trying to be more cautious with the things that I do that I feel like contribute to that.”

Gordon never showed any signs of discomfort last weekend at Indy, pulling away from Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne on the final restart to win for the second time this season. Gordon holds the points lead heading into Sunday’s race at Pocono Raceway, where he’s a six-time winner.

Gordon and Kahne staged a similar battle in last August’s race at Pocono. Unlike last week at Indy, Kahne won the restart and the race. Cruising from the outside, Kahne got the jump he needed, zipped past Gordon and pulled away with two laps left for the win.

Kahne is winless this season and badly needs one if he wants to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship field. Kahne led 70 laps and had the car to beat at Indy until his late fade ended with a sixth-place finish and his car out of fuel.

“It was the first time of the season we have put a full race together,” Kahne said. “From me driving to them on pit road to pit calls, everything about it was right. That is something that we haven’t done this year. We haven’t even come close to doing that.”

He could be in the mix Sunday — along with Gordon, and Hendrick drivers Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. The drivers have won the last four races at the track.

Here are five things to know about Pocono Raceway:

SWEEP CITY: Dale Earnhardt Jr. is trying to become the first driver to sweep Pocono since Denny Hamlin in 2006. Earnhardt will attempt to capture the second season sweep of his career and first since Talladega in 2002.

POCONO ANNIVERSARY: Richard Petty won the first NASCAR race held on the tri-oval track — the Purolator 500 — on Aug. 4, 1974. The second race of each season was added to the schedule in 1982. There have been 73 NASCAR Cup races at Pocono. Entering this weekend, 322 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway; 222 in more than one. Jeff Gordon leads all drivers with six wins and 32 different drivers have captured the checkered flag.

JOHNSON SLUMP: With six Sprint Cup championships, Jimmie Johnson’s definition of a slump is always a bit skewed compared to the rest of the field. Johnson is in a minor one headed into Pocono. He had consecutive 42nd-place finishes at Daytona and New Hampshire because of wrecks and only finished 14th last week at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, traditionally one of his best tracks. Johnson finished sixth in the first Pocono race, the only time he didn’t win in a four-race span (Charlotte, Dover and Michigan). “We are not running as well as we need to,” crew chief Chad Knaus said. “I think everybody knows that. We have had some struggles this year. We’ve won a few races, which is great. But on a consistent level we are not as fast as what we want to be. Quite honestly I don’t think anybody is.” Johnson has three career wins at Pocono.

CREW CHIEF: Denny Hamlin will have a new crew chief at Pocono after NASCAR penalized Joe Gibbs Racing for rules violations at the Brickyards. Darian Grubb and car Wesley Sherrill were both suspended through the Sept. 6 race at Richmond. Grubb, the crew chief, was also fined $125,000. Team engineer Mike Wheeler will fill in as the crew chief. Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth are among the drivers who have won races with their regular crew chief sitting home. Kenseth, who won last year at Darlington without Jason Ratcliff, said there are so many ways to communicate with the suspended chief, that it doesn’t hamper a team like it did years ago. “You’re still missing your head coach. The guy who leads the people and gets them together and talks strategy and you’re still not looking in his eyes and talking face to face and doing all of that kind of stuff,” Kenseth said. “I think it’s not as hard as it was at one time, but I think certainly you’d still want him here.”

D4D: Kyle Larson’s Pocono pole helped bring attention to NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program. Larson became the first graduate of Drive to win a Sprint Cup pole. Larson’s mother is Japanese and his father is of Native American descent. Larson competed under the NASCAR D4D banner in 2012. Created in 2004, drivers competed for NASCAR approved and supported developmental teams throughout the United States. The initiative has evolved, and drivers now race for one team, Rev Racing, and have been since 2010.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Solano County confirms 1st local case of measles

By Staff and wire reports | From Page: A1

 
SPCA begins caring for more than 100 rescued dogs

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
 
Top workers, top students – and succulent crab

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Armijo students savor catered Fuddruckers lunch

By Susan Hiland And Susan Winlow | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Life sentence in 2011 execution-style killing

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3

Partial Fairfield freeway road closure starts Monday

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

 
DUI patrols set for Super Bowl Sunday

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

Fairfield police log: Jan. 29, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Suisun City police log: Jan. 29, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Another trip to Texas reminds me how lucky I am

By Murray Bass | From Page: B10

 
.

US / World

Man charged in California family’s deaths will be own lawyer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

 
Stanford University to get $50 million to produce vaccines

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

Yosemite park fee hikes coming in March

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
San Francisco coroner says human remains are from 1 man

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

PG&E releases thousands of emails with state regulators

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Judge expresses doubt about constitutionality of no-fly list

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

French fracture laid bare as 8-year-old praises terrorists

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Africans open new front in war on terror to fight Boko Haram

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

US mulls Middle East-North Africa category for 2020 Census

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Balloon crew makes history crossing Pacific Ocean

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Murder trial begins 35 years after 6-year-old vanished in NY

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Judge: Funeral home wrongly sold Lee Harvey Oswald’s casket

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Jordan awaits proof hostage is alive after swap deadline

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
New lottery tickets come with a side of bacon – scent

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
.

Opinion

 
GOP should plan for post-Obamacare world

By Ramesh Ponnuru | From Page: A8

Editorial Cartoon: Jan. 31, 2015

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Solano College news makes me sick

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

.

Living

Today in History: Jan. 31, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Jan. 31, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Jan. 31, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

 
My recently widowed mother is already thinking about re-marrying

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B7

Five ways 3D-printed food will change the way we eat

By The Washington Post | From Page: B10

 
.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Miranda Lambert leads ACM Awards with 8 nominations

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Shakira gives birth to 2nd baby with Spanish football star

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Ex-rap mogul ‘Suge’ Knight arrested in deadly hit-and-run

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

List: 10 Super Bowl ads you’ll be talking about

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Rod McKuen, mega-selling poet and performer, dies at 81

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

.

Sports

LeBron returns, Love, Irving team for 44, as Cavs top Kings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Mustangs ride away from Indian’s home court with 66-60 victory

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Hayward, Utah Jazz upset Golden State Warriors 110-100

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Laird leads as Tiger shoots 82 and misses the cut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Seau, Warner, Pace first-time Hall eligibles

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Djokovic beats Wawrinka to reach fifth Australian Open final

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

N.H. Speedway general manager faces lewdness charge

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Kings’ Cousins to replace Kobe Bryant in All-Star game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Judge: Jury can watch Super Bowl unless Hernandez mentioned

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Blackhawks Hall of Famer Stan Mikita has brain disorder

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Ko takes lead at LPGA opener, closes in on golf history

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Carroll says decision is Sherman’s if baby arrives early

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

NFL’s Goodell seeks to look past ‘tough year,’ to future

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
This date in sports history for Jan. 31, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Business

US consumer confidence at highest level in a decade

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Companies steering clear of Super Bowl name

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Obituaries

Anthony Neal Hunley

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Frank Z. Perez

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Joe Lambert Robinson

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Otilia (Tela) Quinn

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Danica Gojkovich Ryder

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
WillIiam “Bill” Hunter

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Garry A. Britton

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Anneliese Edith (Luckner) Fraser

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
.

Home Seller 1/31/2015

Quirky add-ons a common feature of celebrity homes

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR2

5 ways to make a kitchen more germ-free

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR3

Average US rate on 30-year mortgage rises to 3.66 percent

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR3

Real estate transactions for Jan. 31, 2015

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR3