Jeff Gordon prepares for 700th Cup start at Darlington

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As four-time Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon heads for his 700th career start (all consecutive) in NASCAR’s premier series this weekend at Darlington Raceway, the venerable driver is acknowledging the milestone but not putting a lot of emphasis on it.

“I’ve been fortunate to race this long and have the type of career I’ve had,” he said. “It’s really cool to see that this will be my 700th start, but it’s not something I really paid attention to. It’s hard to believe I’ve run that many – especially consecutively.”

Through his previous 699 starts, the Hendrick Motorsports driver has evolved from an up-and-coming “Wonder Boy” to one of the sport’s most decorated veterans with his four Sprint Cups and 87 career victories. Seven of those wins, as well as 18 of his 299 Top-5 finishes have come at Darlington’s infamous egg-shaped oval.

Adding to the inherent challenge that Darlington presents is the fact that the Generation-6 machines will be visiting the track “Too Tough To Tame” for the first time this weekend. Suffice to say, Gordon has lots of other things to worry about besides hitting the 700-race mark in his career.

“The [car] will be fast and have a lot of grip,” he said. “But racing the track while working traffic will be as tough as ever.

“They repaved Darlington a few years back, so it’s not the same track it used to be 10 years ago. But it’s still one of those tracks where you have to push hard but be patient. And it’s still one of those tracks you must respect.”

Gordon is tops amongst all active drivers at Darlington in wins, Top 5s, and laps led (1,720 — 903 laps more than any other driver).

Who has the best odds of winning Sunday’s Indianapolis 500?

Can Takuma Sato make it 2 Indy 500 wins in a row Sunday? Photo: IndyCar
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Noted oddsmaker Bovada (www.Bovada.lv) has released its annual list of which drivers have the best — or worst — odds of winning Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Topping the list is 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi at 8/1 odds, followed closely by Team Penske drivers Helio Castroneves (going for a record-tying fourth 500 triumph), 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series champ Josef Newgarden and Will Power, all at 10/1 odds.

Other notables include:

  • Pole sitter Ed Carpenter 12/1
  • Danica Patrick 25/1
  • Defending 500 winner Takuma Sato, who is vying to become the first back-to-back winner since Helio Castroneves did so in 2001 and 2002, 30/1
  • Rounding out the list with the highest odds of winning is Max Chilton at 25/1

Here’s the full list:

Indianapolis 500 – Odds to Win @ Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Alexander Rossi #27                  8/1

Helio Castroneves #3                 10/1

Josef Newgarden #1                  10/1

Will Power #12                          10/1

Sebastien Bourdais #18             12/1

Ed Carpenter #20                      12/1

Scott Dixon #9                          12/1

Ryan Hunter-Reay #28               12/1

Simon Pagenaud #22                12/1

Marco Andretti #98                    15/1

Tony Kanaan #14                       15/1

Sage Karam #24                        20/1

Carlos Munoz #29                      25/1

Danica Patrick #13                    25/1

Graham Rahal #15                     30/1

Takuma Sato #30                      30/1

Robert Wickens #6                    30/1

Gabby Chaves #88                    40/1

JR Hildebrand #66                     40/1

Ed Jones #10                            40/1

Charlie Kimball #23                    40/1

Spencer Pigot #21                     40/1

Zach Veach #26                        40/1

Stefan Wilson #25                     40/1

Zachary Claman De Melo #19     80/1

Jay Howard #7                          80/1

Matheus Leist #4                       80/1

Jack Harvery #60                       100/1

Oriol Servia #64                         100/1

Conor Daly #17                         150/1

James Davison #33                   200/1

Kyle Kaiser #32                         200/1

Max Chilton #59                        250/1