3 THINGS TO WATCH

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - — God­win Kelly, god­win. kelly@news-jrnl.com

1. Gor­don II

Jeff Gor­don will con­tinue to sub for ail­ing Dale Earn­hardt Jr. in the No. 88 Hen­drick Mo­tor­sports Chevro­let at Po­cono this week­end. Af­ter a 13th-place run at Indy, which knocked off some of his rac­ing rust, Gor­don may be a se­ri­ous con­tender at the strangely-shaped Po­cono course, where he scored six wins be­fore his re­tire­ment. “I’m look­ing for­ward to go­ing to Po­cono,” said the four-time Cup cham­pion.

2. Po­cono pack­age

Ev­ery year since Po­cono Race­way got two Cup Se­ries dates in 1982, those races have been only weeks apart, his­tor­i­cally one date in June and an­other in July. So if it seems like stock cars were just rac­ing at the 2.5-mile course, you are cor­rect. The Cup se­ries ran there on June 6, which was a lit­tle less than seven weeks ago. That race was run on a Mon­day af­ter Sun­day’s race was rained out.

3. Six-pack

It’s hard to be­lieve, but there are only six reg­u­lar-sea­son races left on the NASCAR Cup Se­ries cal­en­dar, and five more slots open in the Chase play­offs. What does it mean? It means we are in the “big squeeze” sec­tion of the sched­ule. There are two "wild­card" stops on the slate. The first is Watkins Glen, a road course, and the other is Dar­ling­ton, noth­ing short of a mad­house where at­tri­tion could pro­duce an up­set win­ner.

GETTY IM­AGES/ ROBERT LABERGE

Jeff Gor­don got a re­fresher course at Indy from team­mate Jim­mie Joh­son. Gor­don could be more of a fac­tor at Po­cono.

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