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NASCAR Weekend Preview: For Gordon, It’s One And Done
Only one track now remains on Gordon’s to-do list – Kentucky Speedway. He’s 22-for-23 on the current slate of race tracks.
Gordon will get the chance to complete the unprecedented career track sweep on Saturday night in the Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts (7:30 p.m. ET on TNT).
“I’d love to win at every track,” said Gordon. “That would be a special accomplishment.”
Gordon finished 10th in Kentucky’s inaugural race and was fifth a year ago. Hendrick Motorsports drivers Kasey Kahne (second), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (fourth) and Jimmie Johnson (sixth) also contended.
But 2013 is a different year – and there’s a different car, the Gen-6.
"Prior to last year's race, I might have considered this to be one of my worst tracks," said Gordon, who sits 13th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings following his runner-up finish at Sonoma last weekend. "But we had a good car and a good run here last year - one that we want to improve upon.
"Of course, we have the Generation-6 car here for the first time. We're learning every single week with the new Chevrolet SS, and we're learning every single trip to Kentucky.
"Hopefully, we can put it all together so we can check this one off the list."
Over the last six races, Gordon has finished among the top three on three occasions, but out of the top 10 three times – and twice was 35th or worse.
“We’re just going to go and push hard and perform and try to put more finishes like (Sonoma) together,” he said.
Dash 4 Cash Adds Wrinkle To Championship Hunt
There’s some added incentive rolled into Friday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series Feed the Children 300 at Kentucky Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN), and it could eventually mean big bucks for a select few of the series’ championship contenders.
Friday night marks the return of the Nationwide Insurance Dash 4 Cash, a bonus program rewarding top finishes by the series’ title contending drivers. The top-four finishing NASCAR Nationwide regulars in the Feed the Children 300 will qualify to run the first leg of the popular program at Daytona International Speedway with an opportunity to win $100,000.
"Kentucky is the qualifier for the first Dash 4 Cash race at Daytona so it'll add another competitive element to the race,” said Michael Annett, driver of the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford. “We had success last year and were able to win a $100,000 bonus at Indy. It's a great program and I think we can qualify for it each time. We should be able to win one again this year too. It's a lot of fun to be a part of with Nationwide Insurance; it's a nice bonus to race for."
The highest finisher of the four eligible drivers at Daytona will win the money and automatically qualify for the Dash 4 Cash at New Hampshire the following weekend. The three highest finishing NNS regulars at Daytona not already qualified will also get to compete for the $100,000 bonus at New Hampshire. The final two events at Chicagoland and Indianapolis will carry the same qualifying requirements.
If one driver wins the first three legs of the Dash 4 Cash and the Indianapolis race outright, Nationwide Insurance will award that driver an extra $600,000.
Four fans will be selected to win an all-expense paid trip to Indianapolis where they will be randomly paired with the four eligible drivers. The fan paired with the driver who wins the Dash 4 Cash at Indianapolis will also walk away with $100,000.
A solid pick to be among the top four this weekend: Austin Dillon, who swept last year’s two Nationwide events at Kentucky Speedway.
"I think my dirt racing background plays a factor (in) to my success at Kentucky,” Dillon said. “I get through the bumps really well. The characteristics of the track help me. I think we definitely have a shot at having another dominating performance. Everybody on our AdvoCare Chevrolet team gets really excited about going to Kentucky Speedway because we've had such good luck there in the past. Any time you win at a place, you love it. I have other tracks I love, but this one is close to me because I have two really big wins there."
Moffitt Keeps Climbing, This Time To Trucks
A number of top divers have climbed NASCAR’s ladder system, and Brett Moffitt hopes to one day join a group that includes Joey Logano, Austin Dillon and Kyle Larson.
Current NASCAR K&N Pro Series East competitor Moffitt of Grimes, Iowa, will make his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start Thursday in the UNOH 225 at Kentucky Speedway (8 p.m. ET on SPEED). It will be his second national series start overall. Moffitt finished ninth in his lone NASCAR Nationwide Series start at Iowa Speedway in 2012.
Moffitt, a nine-time winner in 54 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East starts, was recently announced as a member of the 2013 edition of NASCAR Next, a NASCAR industry initiative that began in 2011 to highlight NASCAR’s rising stars.
“A mile-and-a-half track will be a new experience for me but I can't wait to get behind the wheel and start learning," said Moffitt, who’ll drive the No. 13 ThorSport Racing Toyota as teammate to series points leader Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter.
Currently second in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East standings, Moffitt has finished either second or third in each of his four full-time seasons.