Twistity Sports Exclusive: Jeff Gordon Will Drive At The Brickyard – Dale Earnhardt Jr. Is Out

NASCAR When Jeff Gordon retired at the end of the last NASCAR season, it seemed that no one would post a record six victories at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway....

NASCAR

When Jeff Gordon retired at the end of the last NASCAR season, it seemed that no one would post a record six victories at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But retirement is not so permanent any longer and Gordon suddenly gets another chance.

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Gordon, 44, will drive in the Brickyard 400 on Sunday and in Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 car the following week as well while Dale Earnhardt Jr. recovers from concussion-like symptoms. Earnhardt, 41, didn’t compete last weekend at New Hampshire, either.

Earnhardt had said earlier in the week he had “struggled with my balance” for several days and didn’t see how he could drive at Indy. So the call went out to his former teammate, Gordon.

“Jeff’s a team player,” team owner Rick Hendrick told the Associated Press. “I know he’ll be ready, and I know Dale has incredible trust in him. It’s going to be an emotional weekend with Dale not being there and seeing Jeff back behind the wheel.”

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Earnhardt has started every Brickyard race since 2000. Gordon hasn’t driven since the finale of the 2015 season. But he’s from Pittsboro, Ind., not far from the famed track, and he has won five times at that venue.

Adding to the fun? Columbus, Indiana native Tony Stewart, who is retiring at the end of the current season, will be making his final start at his hometown track, just as Gordon supposedly did a year ago. Or maybe not. You never know.
 
 
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman

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