LONG POND, Pa. — Jeff Gordon isn’t quite ready to call it a career.
Not this year, at least.
He has one of his favorite tracks on tap and a sponsorship deal locked up for another three years, good news for Gordon and everyone at Hendrick Motorsports.
But questions still loom for the four-time Cup champion. Will he win this season? Can he bring home a fifth championship? And just how long does one of NASCAR’s greatest drivers plan to keep going?
He offered no clues Friday at Pocono Raceway, even if the three-year extension with Axalta Coating Systems – the sponsor formerly known as DuPont – seems to put an end date for the 41-year-old Gordon.
“Can you pencil any driver in for every weekend for every year?,” Gordon asked. “I feel like the same things apply. Nothing has changed for me. We’re still competitive and still being challenged and have goals. My back is hanging in there.”
Gordon is winless and stuck in 11th place in the points standings, one spot outside a guaranteed slot in the Chase. He would earn one of the two wild-card berths if he’s among the top two winners in 11th to 20th place.
NASCAR NEXT: Two sons of well-known Sprint Cup drivers head the list of youngsters selected for this season’s NASCAR Next program: Chase Elliott, son of 1988 champion Bill Elliott, and Jeb Burton, whose father Ward won the 2002 Daytona 500.
NASCAR Next, highlights drivers between the ages of 15 and 24 who might one day star at the Nationwide or Sprint Cup level.
INDYCAR SERIES: Sebastian Saavedra was prepared to accept the penalty he knew was coming from IndyCar after he directed an obscene gesture toward Marco Andretti.
Then Saavedra found out it was going to be a $30,000 fine for flashing both of his middle fingers, an act that was caught on live television.
“When I heard the amount, I was very, very, very mad at the series,” he said.
Saavedra, angry at Andretti after the two made contact in Saturday’s race, wasn’t the only driver penalized by IndyCar for incidents during the series’ doubleheader in Detroit last weekend.
Will Power was placed on probation for the rest of the season for throwing his gloves at Sebastien Bourdais following an accident during Sunday’s race. Bourdais was placed on probation for comments made toward officials on pit road after the same accident.
FORMULA ONE: In Montreal, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso had the fastest lap in practice Friday for the Canadian Grand Prix.
The Spaniard, a two-time winner this season, had a lap at 1 minute, 14:818 seconds at 2.71-mile Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Ile Notre-Dame.
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton was second at 1:14.831.