Gordon skipping out? 

Each year, the biggest motor-sports event at Infineon Raceway is NASCAR’s annual trek to the Sonoma Valley track for the first of its two road races of the season. Two of Nextel Cup’s most successful road course drivers may tag-team for Hendrick Motorsports at this year’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 June 24.

Jeff Gordon’s wife, Ingrid Vandebosch, is due to give birth to the couple’s first child on race day. If, in fact, the baby is on its way, Gordon will sit out the race and Mark Martin will pinch-hit for the four-time Cup champion, according to reports by Mel Blount on ESPN.com.

"It’s one of the weekends Martin left off his partial schedule this season, but he’ll stand by if Gordon needs him," Blount wrote.

Gordon, who grew up in Vallejo, is almost assured of making the 12-driver playoff even if he misses one race for personal reasons. He easily has enough points to stay above the 12-man cutoff."

Coincidentally, Gordon announced his engagement to Vandebosch in the Sonoma Valley after winning last year’s race at Infineon. Gordon is a five-time winner on the 12-turn, 1.99-mile road course.

If Gordon is able to race, Martin will remain in Sonoma and serve as a coach for Regan Smith, driver of the No. 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet for Ginn Racing. Martin races part-time for Ginn Racing on the Cup circuit this year.

This would mark the first race Gordon would miss in his Cup career (484 races dating back to 1992).

Allmendinger to Test at Infineon: NASCAR Nextel Cup Series driver A.J. Allmendinger is set for a two-day test session at Infineon on June 5-6.

Three Northern California cities lay claim to the personable young American racing star. He was born in Los Gatos, graduated from Leigh High School in San Jose and launched his professional racing career while living in Hollister. Allmendinger will be testing in advance of the Toyota/Save Mart 350.

Allmendinger, a Nextel Cup rookie, is best known for his days in the Champ Car World Series. He placed third in the series in 2006 with five wins and one pole. He also won the Toyota Atlantic championship and Rookie of the Year honors in 2003 and was the top rookie in Barber Dodge in 2002.

NO DENT IN DALE’S SALES

Sales of Dale Earnhardt Jr. merchandise at racetracks is up 17 percent since his May 10 announcement that he was leaving Dale Earnhardt Inc., industry analysts said. At NASCAR.com, where his figures spiked 107 percent the first week, sales have now leveled off but are still slightly above last season’s pace.

THIS WEEK’S PIT STOPS

NEXTEL CUP

WHAT: Autism Speaks 400

WHERE: Dover, Del.

WHEN: Sun., 10:30 a.m.

BUSCH

WHAT: AAA Insurance 200

WHERE: Dover, Del.

WHEN: Sun., noon

NHRA

WHAT: O’Reilly Summer Nat’ls

WHERE: Topeka, Kan.

WHEN: Sunday, 9 a.m.

IRL

WHAT: A.J. Foyt 225

WHERE: West Allis, Wis.

WHEN: Saturday, 1 p.m.

CHAMP CAR

WHAT: G.I. Joe’s Grand Prix

WHERE: Portland, Ore.

WHEN: June 10

FORMULA ONE

WHAT: Canadian Grand Prix

WHERE: Montreal

WHEN: June 10


If Jeff Gordon withdraws, will you stay home?

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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