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Gordon clings to Chase spot as cutoff looms


Jeff Gordon made his last win at Pocono a family affair.

It was a win to savor. His 86th career victory was the first time his wife and both of his two young children joined him in a Victory Lane celebration.

But his Pocono run also thrust Gordon into wild-card contention for the Chase, and he finished 10th in the final standings.

Fast forward a season. Gordon enters Pocono in Long Pond, Pa., still looking for his first win of this season and hoping to hold on to his precarious 10th-place spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship standings.

And, he again can make it another win to remember. Once the dominant “Rainbow Warrior,” Gordon turns 42 today, long removed from the era when he was always the driver to beat at any track.

But the birthday boy still knows how to drive – and he hasn’t forgotten how to win. What he’s still chasing is that elusive fifth Cup championship, 11 years after he celebrated his last one.

It’s what drives him as he’s changed from the driver who shot NASCAR into the mainstream and made it must-see TV into the sport’s elder statesman.

Gordon would love to make another championship push in the No. 24 – as long as he can stay in the field.

Gordon holds the 10th and final locked-in spot in the 12-driver Chase field. Here’s where it gets tricky for the driver known as Four Time: He’s just one point ahead of Tony Stewart, five points ahead of Martin Truex Jr. and six points ahead of Brad Keselowski. Should Gordon fall out of the top 10 and not win a race, he’ll be on the outside of the Chase.

Langdon sets record

Top Fuel points leader Shawn Langdon shattered the Pacific Raceways in Kent, Wa., record to top qualifying Saturday in the NHRA Northwest Nationals.

Coming off his season-leading fourth victory of the season last weekend in Sonoma, Langdon powered his dragster to a pass of 3.765 seconds at 320.58 mph.

David Grubnic ran an identical 3.765 at 317.57 during the second qualifying session, but Langdon stayed in the top spot because of his faster speed.

Keselowski, Blaney win

With 35 laps left, Brad Keselowski took control to win the NASCAR Nationwide race at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. The Sprint Cup driver has won in his last three Nationwide starts. … Ryan Blaney pulled away on the second attempt at a green-white-checkered finish to win the Truck Series race at Pocono Raceway. It was his first Truck Series win in four years.

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