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Auto racing notes: 4-time NASCAR champion seeks boost at Kentucky


Jeff Gordon hopes that crossing the last track off his to-win list can help him gain ground in the Chase standings.

At any rate, the four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion has his work cut out for him.

Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Ky., is the lone Cup venue left for Gordon to conquer, though tonight will mark just his third start at the track. It’s still a challenge with a rough, bumpy surface, not to mention a history of triple-digit track temperatures that have worn down drivers and cars.

Gordon’s biggest obstacle is clearing three drivers and cracking the top 10 for a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. That’s asking a lot in a hard-luck season including four DNFs, leaving no room for error with 10 races remaining in NASCAR’s regular season.

Solving the last track that NASCAR has to offer – for now – would be a good start.

“That would be huge,” Gordon said. “Number one, because this is a very challenging race track, not an easy race track to win on. Number two, every time we knock one off, we get close to accomplishing that goal. … That would be something that I would be very proud of.”

Gordon will start 12th after the No. 24 Chevy clocked 181.653 mph.

Keselowski wins

Brad Keselowski took his final lead on the 156th lap and went on to a rain-shortened victory in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Kentucky Speedway.

Showers halted the race at lap 170 in the scheduled 200-lap event, but drivers were expecting it to resume before another pocket of rain forced officials to call it off. Keselowski settled for doing victory spinouts, being careful to avoid sliding into the wall on a night mostly spent on firm footing.

Earnhardt sets record

The questions during NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying were how many drivers would raise Kentucky Speedway’s record and by how much.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. provided the answer of the eight that broke it, clocking 183.636 mph to wrest the mark from Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson and the pole for tonight’s race.

Rosberg tops in practice

Nico Rosberg was fastest in practice at the British Grand Prix in Silverstone, England, followed by Mark Webber and three-time defending champion Sebastian Vettel.

Rosberg, who won the Monaco GP, was 0.299 seconds faster than Webber.

F1 sets penalty system

The World Motor Sports Council said it will introduce a penalty point system for Formula One drivers in 2014 and expand testing to be allowed in January and during the season.

The penalty system was prompted by race crashes in the past year. The system would allow a driver to accumulate 12 points before he is banned from the next race. The penalty points will depend on the “severity of the offence.”