Gordon says outdated Pocono lucky to have two Cup dates

Updated: May 30, 2008, 6:06 PM ET

AP Photo/Russ Hamilton Jr.

Surging Greg Biffle won the pole for Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway.

DOVER, Del. -- Jeff Gordon said he loves Joe and Rose Mattioli, owners of Pocono Raceway. But he isn't in love with the track.

"It's outdated and needs a ton of upgrades," Gordon said. "The fact that it's in the Northeast is a positive, but I'm shocked it has had two [Sprint Cup] races as long as it has. I'd be surprised if it stayed that way for the future, just because of other markets where we need to be."

Gordon had heard that Speedway Motorsports Inc. chairman Bruton Smith was interested in buying Pocono. But the Mattiolis say it isn't for sale and Smith's interest has turned to Dover International Speedway, which may be for sale.

Smith wants to buy another facility that has Cup races so he can move a race to Kentucky Speedway, which he is in the process of purchasing. He also wants a second date for Las Vegas.

But Gordon believes Dover deserves to keep its races.

"This is the type of track we need, a 1-mile, high-banked oval," he said. "Now if we could pick it up and move it to one of three of four other locations, that would be great.

"There's a lot going on with Bruton these days. I'm as anxious as everybody else to see how it all unfolds."

Terry Blount covers motorsports for ESPN.com. He can be reached at terry@blountspeak.com.

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Standings

Dario Rarin' To Go

Franchitti

Dario Franchitti was back in action Friday, but not in a Cup car. Franchitti, who suffered a broken ankle at Talladega on April 26 in a Nationwide race accident, will compete in the Nationwide race at Dover on Saturday.

Franchitti was 10th on the speed chart in the final practice session Friday. He participated in the Cup-testing session at Pocono earlier this week.

"It feels good to get back out there," Franchitti said. "The team thought it was a bit much for me to do both races in one weekend, so I think this was a smart decision."

Jeremy Mayfield is subbing for Franchitti in the No. 40 Dodge in the Cup race on Sunday. Mayfield qualified 10th.

Franchitti was wearing a carbon-fiber brace for three weeks, but he said he no longer needs it and won't use it in the race.

"The race boot is a little tight and I'll probably be a little sore after the race," Franchitti said. "But, really, it's fine. It was painful for about two days, then it was just a pain in the butt."

Relief For Robby Gordon

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Matt Crafton filled in for Robby Gordon in the No. 7 Dodge in practice and qualifying Friday.

Gordon is in Ensenada, Mexico, for the Baja 500 on Saturday. Gordon will fly to Dover Saturday night and return to the driver's seat for his Cup team in Sunday's Best Buy 400.

Gordon will have to start in the back for the driver change, but he would have started in the back anyway because Crafton's qualifying lap was 43rd of the 45 cars that made an attempt.