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Gordon Ends Pole Drought

September 23, 2006|Lisa Dillman;Michael Hiltzik;Pete Thomas | From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Jeff Gordon, a four-time NASCAR champion, had gone 47 races without a pole -- the longest drought of his career.

All it took was a trip to top sponsor DuPont's backyard to put the driver back on top.

Gordon took the top spot for Sunday's Dover 400 with a fast lap of 156.162 mph Friday at Dover, Del.

It's his first pole since Aug. 24, 2005, on the road course at Sonoma, Calif.

"It feels like my first pole ever," Gordon said. "When it goes by for a while, you feel like you lost that magic touch or that combination that it took to get on poles."

Gordon is fourth in the point standings entering the second race of NASCAR's 10-man Chase for the Nextel Cup championship. Perhaps a new chassis in the No. 24 Chevrolet helped him.

Aside from Gordon's effort, it wasn't a strong qualifying day for the drivers in the Chase.

Series leader Kevin Harvick will start 25th. Matt Kenseth enters third and will start third.

Mark Martin (sixth) was the only other driver in the top 10 of the points standings who will start on the first five rows (ninth). Kyle Busch, the last of the 10 in the standings, qualified 27th.

Joining Gordon on the front row will be Scott Riggs, who had a fast lap of 156.060 in a Dodge.

Dan Clarke won the provisional pole for Sunday's Champ Car World Series Grand Prix of Road America at Elkhart Lake, Wis., driving his Cosworth-powered Ford 126.585 mph around the 4.048-mile road course.


Three U.S. Cities

Send Reports to USOC

Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco, the three prospective U.S. bid cities for the 2016 Olympics, sent 60-page reports to the U.S. Olympic Committee, describing plans for the Games in 10 major categories, ranging from venues to security to USOC partnership plans.

"Our ultimate goal is to help each of these cities build the best possible Olympic plans, so we can select from among them the city with the best chance of winning internationally," said Bob Ctvrtlik, the USOC's vice president for international affairs, calling the meeting of Friday's deadline, "an important milestone."

The USOC board will decide by the end of this year whether to move ahead with a U.S. bid for 2016. If it proceeds down that path, the U.S. bid city will be selected next year in either late March or early April.


-- Lisa Dillman



Brown Wants Payoff,

Damages from Knicks

Larry Brown is seeking a $53.5-million payoff from the New York Knicks for firing him after only one season as the team's coach.

Along with the $41 million that remained on the original five-year contract he signed last summer, Brown is asking for an additional 25% of the original value of the $50-million contract, or an additional $12.5 million, as "liquidated damages" as a result of the firing.

The finances were revealed Thursday in a 10-Q form filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission by the Knicks' parent company, Cablevision. The Sports Business Journal originally reported the story Friday on the Internet, but Newsday also obtained the 10-Q form, which is a public document.

Dajuan Wagner, the point guard whose career was derailed by injuries and a serious illness, signed with the Golden State Warriors after being out of the NBA for nearly two years.

France defeated Lithuania, 79-73, for fifth place in the women's world basketball championships at Sao Paulo, Brazil.

In the seventh-place game, the Czech Republic beat Spain, 57-49. Today, Australia plays Russia in the title game, and the U.S. plays Brazil for third place.


Former Trojan Rucker

Files Not Guilty Pleas

Former USC defensive end Frostee Rucker filed not guilty pleas to two misdemeanor counts of spousal battery and two counts of vandalism in connection with an alleged altercation with an ex-girlfriend more than a year ago.

Rucker, 23, who filed the pleas through his attorney, Leonard Levine, did not appear at the arraignment in Los Angeles Superior Court. A further hearing on the case was scheduled for Oct. 20. Rucker transferred to USC in 2002 from Colorado State. He was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the third round of the NFL draft in April.


-- Michael Hiltzik



Mexico Considers Bid

for 2014 World Cup

Mexico may bid for the 2014 World Cup, the new leader of the Mexican soccer federation said in an interview published on Friday. Justino Compean told the El Universal newspaper that Mexico also could play host in 2010 if South Africa can't resolve its infrastructure worries. The 2014 Cup is slated for South America, and Brazil is favored to get the bid.


Action Sports Event

Set for This Weekend

Action sports fans have the opportunity to take in an unusual doubleheader in the San Diego area this weekend.

The inaugural Roxy Jam Cardiff featuring the Linda Benson Women's Longboard Pro, a surfing contest and beach fair, is scheduled today and Sunday at the point break near Encinitas.

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