• 66°

NASCAR Notebook

Associated Press
The NASCAR notebook …
HAMPTON, Ga. — Jeff Gordon is back at the track where he made his Cup debut 20 years ago.
Gordon marked the occasion with a special paint scheme on his No. 24 Chevrolet for Sunday night’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
“Time flies,” Gordon said. “Right from the beginning, this was a special place for me.”
Back in 1992, no one noticed a 21-year-old from Indiana racing in the Cup series for the first time. There were much bigger stories in that final race of the season, which featured a thrilling three-way battle for the championship and Richard Petty’s farewell.
Gordon crashed out of the race after 164 laps and wound up 31st.
“Back then, you could go and test at the track before you raced at the track,” he said. “I remember coming here and testing, running really fast, qualifying not going well for us, but they had second-round qualifying back then on the Saturday. We were fastest in the second round. We had a fast race car.”
But he wasn’t quite ready to run with the giants of the sport.
That would come a few years later.
“My inexperience got the best of me, getting loose, backing into the wall,” Gordon recalled, as though it happened yesterday.
Perhaps the most compelling moment came before the race, when Petty’s imminent retirement and enormous contributions to the sport was acknowledged during the drivers meeting.
“I was very proud to be part of it,” Gordon said. “Here is a legend in our sport that will never be topped. Nobody is every going to win 200 races, yet I was able to be part of a fairly intimate setting and hear him speak at the drivers meeting on what his career meant to him, how much he appreciated so many things and the fans and the competitors. That was very, very cool to be a part of that. I certainly remember that.
“But,” Gordon quickly added, “I also remember my day not ending too well.”
Since then, he has joined Petty as one of the greats of the sport, capturing four Cup championships and 86 career victories, which puts him third behind only the King and David Pearson (105).
The Atlanta track went on to produce some of Gordon’s most memorable moments, including his 85th win a year ago, moving him past Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison on the career list.
“It’s such a fun racetrack,” Gordon said.
———
BETTER HALVES: Despite a scary crash involving Matt Kenseth’s wife, a Bandolero race featuring the wives and girlfriends of NASCAR drivers will again be held during the October Cup event at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The 25-lap charity event, dubbed the “Better Half Dash,” will be held on the quarter-mile track along the frontstretch and feature defending champion Jacquelyn Butler, the fiance of David Ragan.
There will be some changes to the format, including a competition caution on lap 15 and a pre-race qualifying session.
“Last year so much fun, and I think we’ve come up with so many great ideas to shake things up a little bit and try not to have so many cautions,” Butler said. “We’re already trash talking.”
It was no laughing matter when Katie Kenseth wrecked her car, which resembles a full-bodied go-cart, while practicing for the inaugural event. She smashed into the wall and broke her shoulder blade.
She won’t be participating this time around.
The winner of the race gets $10,000 to donate to the charity of her choice, plus a 7-foot-tall trophy.
———
AILING LOGANO: Joey Logano had to sit both Cup practice sessions Saturday because of an illness.
Michael McDowell, who failed to qualify for the AdvoCare 500, was still in Atlanta and agreed to take over behind the wheel for Logano to put a few miles on the No. 20 car.
“I got some kind of stomach virus or food poisoning,” Logano tweeted. “I’m hoping to be good enough to practice later.”
Logano added a hashtag with the phrase “nofun.”
The 22-year-old driver expects to be behind the wheel in the race, no matter what. He needs another win to possibly claim one of the two wild-card spots in the Chase for the championship.

Comments

Comments closed.

Ask Us

Ask Us: Who are people behind sign at City Park playground?

Coronavirus

Prison in Salisbury latest site of COVID-19 outbreak

Crime

Blotter: Salisbury Man charged with felony assault by strangulation

Nation/World

Trump vows quick Supreme Court vote, Biden urges delay for Nov. 3

Nation/World

New rule may strip pollution protections from popular lakes

East Spencer

East Spencer draws crowd for annual community day

Elections

In Rowan’s legislative races, Howard, Warren get off to strongest start in fundraising

Business

From Navy SEAL to Medicare agent, Trent Waller looks to continue serving his community

Elections

In 13th Congressional District race, Budd, Huffman differ on government’s role in COVID-19 help

Local

Rowan County Telecommunications joins new state digital 911 system

Education

School board will consider scheduling public hearings for Faith, Enochville closures

Elections

Republicans rally supporters at Saturday lunch

Business

Biz Roundup: Food Lion makes donation to support racial equality and justice

Elections

Budd holds wide lead over Huffman in fundraising, cash on hand

Crime

UPDATED: 1 shot, 5 in custody after shooting at haunted house that attracted 1,000 visitors

Nation/World

Trump picks conservative Amy Coney Barrett to fill Supreme Court seat

Coronavirus

Deadly September propels Rowan County to 100 deaths from COVID-19

Crime

Highway Patrol charges man in hit-and-run after finding vehicle hidden in woods

Elections

NC elections board, Republicans at odds over absentee ballot rule changes

News

Voters struggling with witness rules in early voting

News

Trump expected to announce conservative Amy Coney Barrett for Supreme Court

Coronavirus

County reports COVID-19 percent positive rate of 8%

Local

Rowan County United Way sets $1.5 million goal at drive-in kickoff event

Crime

Blotter: Adult daughters accused of beating up mother