DOVER, Del. - Jeff Gordon was singing in the rain at Pocono Raceway last June when a downpour ended the race after 106 of 200 laps, sending his first-place No. 24 Chevrolet to Victory Lane.
The four-time Cup champion sang a different tune at Dover this weekend, wondering aloud if the 2.5-mile track in Long Pond, Pa., is worthy of hosting two races per season on NASCAR's top circuit.
Although he vowed his affection for Pocono Raceway's owners, Joe and Rose Mattioli, Gordon said the "racetrack is outdated [and] needs a ton of upgrades. . . . I'm shocked that they've had two races as long as they have, and I'll be surprised if that stays that way for the future."
The Pocono 500 is next Sunday.
Despite the Mattiolis' repeated denials that their track is for sale, Gordon's remarks fueled the rumor mill in the wake of Kentucky Speedway's sale to Speedway Motorsports Inc.
SMI chief Bruton Smith has expressed interest in bringing a Sprint Cup Series event to Kentucky, but to do so he would have to acquire another track and then move the race date to his new facility.
Gordon was cheered by employees at DuPont's headquarters in Wilmington on Thursday, when company officials announced a two-year extension to remain the primary sponsor of his Hendrick Motorsports car.
His reception does not figure to be nearly as warm at Pocono. According to NASCAR spokesman Brad Klein, Pennsylvania is considered a hotbed for racing and Philadelphia is the No. 4 market for Sprint Cup telecasts.
Delayed at the start for more than three hours by thunderstorms, yesterday's Heluva Good! 200 went green at 6:13 p.m. and sent the 43-car Nationwide Series field into a race against fading daylight.
But given the way that Denny Hamlin has raced over his last three visits to Dover International Speedway, he may have been able to navigate the concrete one-mile oval in the dark.
Hamlin led for 131 of the 200 laps to breeze to the checkered flag in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.
Joey Logano, who turned 18 a week ago - reaching the minimum age to compete in any of NASCAR's top three series - came home sixth in the No. 20 JGR Camry. It was his Nationwide Series debut.
"The team did a great job, but a sixth-place finish ain't much in my book," Logano said.
The biggest disappointment, though, was felt by Kyle Busch.
After putting all but 18 cars at least one lap down midway through the race, Busch's No. 32 Toyota suffered heavy damage in a pit-road fender-bender with Brad Keselowski.