Sonoma could be 2012 NASCAR finale for R. Gordon

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SONOMA, CALIF. (AP) - Robby Gordon believes Sunday’s race at Sonoma will be his last one of the NASCAR season.

Gordon has no sponsorship lined up beyond this week. He’s raced only twice this season _ the Daytona 500 and at Phoenix. After failing to qualify at Las Vegas and California, Gordon has not attempted to make a NASCAR race since March.

“For 2012, this is probably my last event,” Gordon said. “Right now, today, we don’t have anything planned past Sunday.”

Gordon will start 34th at Sonoma, where in 2003 he picked up one of his three career victories. He has no plans to race this summer at Watkins Glen, where he also won in 2003.

“I’d love to go to Watkins Glen, but I don’t have a sponsor right now to go there,” Gordon said. “So as we sit here right now, there’s nothing on the table for anything until next season.”

Gordon said he has money lined up for two races in both 2013 and 2014, but he has no intention of attempting to run a full Sprint Cup Series schedule again unless a funding package _ perhaps from manufacturer Dodge _ comes through.

Without that, a five- to 10-race schedule is probably his most realistic option. But even if that doesn’t come through, he doesn’t want to walk away completely away. He says NASCAR keeps him humble.

“I love NASCAR. But I come here and get … kicked, which is good for me because I’m not a good loser,” he said. “I’ve kind of been out of sight, out of mind.”

Gordon is still racing, though, and working to grow his Speed Energy drink. He’s starting a stadium truck series that he plans to have running in 2013, and Gordon is building all the trucks that will compete.

Gordon is trying to put together a 10-race schedule for the series, and says he already has contracts for events in Los Angeles and San Diego. Gordon wants to add stops in Texas, Long Beach and Las Vegas. He said he’s hired USAC to officiate the races.

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BIG IMPACT: Four-time champion Jeff Gordon has long been one of the stars capable of moving the meter in NASCAR.

But he recognizes that Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the sport’s big superstar, and last week’s win at Michigan was a pivotal moment for NASCAR. Earnhardt snapped a four-year losing streak.

“Listen, we all know the impact,” Gordon said. “I think that’s why so many people were happy and excited to see him win. He went for four years, so he paid his dues and those guys have really been performing well this year. They’ve been putting themselves in position and finally got that win so that was awesome.

“You saw the crowd reaction, and then this week you continue to see the fans and the media and everything, and how it reacts to Dale Jr. winning, especially when it’s been that long. That’s all positives and good things for the sport that we all can benefit from. It’s definitely a boost that I feel like we needed.”

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