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Geoff Bodine's up in Lake Placid with the snow, Robby Gordon is racing in the summer desert heat in Chile...and the rest of NASCAR awaits the 24 Hours of Daytona

  Repairing Robby Gordon's Dakar Hummer is a daily chore for his crew (Photo: Robby Gordon)

   By Mike Mulhern

   While Geoff Bodine hosts his annual winter NASCAR-NHRA bobsled to-do on the Olympic course up in Lake Placid, and while Jimmie Johnson and other NASCAR regulars await the 24 Hours of Daytona, Robby Gordon keeps chugging along through the opening week of the South American Dakar Rally.
    And Gordon used Tuesday's win to move up in the overall standings in Wednesday's Stage Five, from Copiapo to Antofagasta, Chile.
   Gordon jumped to fourth overall with a fourth-place finish in the leg, leaving him less than an hour behind leader Carlos Sainz.
   Gordon called it "an interesting day," since he was the first car out on the road, with Tuesday's win: "Unfortunately we got stuck once in a ditch, costing us about six minutes. Things were going good, and then we had an overheating issue near the end. Stopping to replace the belt cost us about couple of minutes.
   "Had it not been for these errors, I think we could have won the special by about four minutes.
    "Regardless we had a good day and are now within the hour mark and have our sights set on Carlos. 
    "Unfortunately we messed up on the third day by missing a check point. But there is still a long way to go."

    Meanwhile, for those keeping track of Daytona's NASCAR politics, Brian France is promoting four men on NASCAR's executive team: Steve Phelps, Steve O’Donnell, Gary Crotty and Todd Wilson.
    Over in the Ford camp, Bob Jenkins will be joining the team with his two-car effort, with Travis Kvapil and Kevin Conway.
   And in the NASCAR media world, the fallout from the virtual shutdown of long-time publication NASCAR Scene continues, with its parent company apparently trying to coble together something after releasing nearly 30 journalists, including Rea White, Mike Hembree, Steve Waid, Jeff Gluck, Lee Montgomery, Jared Turner, David Exum, Ben White, Mark Sluder and Shea Alexander. Among the few survivors: Bob Pockrass and Jeff Owens.



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