Auto racing

Gordon pursues his 5th Cup title

Long before Jimmie Johnson arrived on the NASCAR scene, Jeff Gordon was the fastest thing on wheels.

He was the “Wonder Boy” who won at a record pace. He helped bring the primarily southern sport to Madison Avenue and was such a household name rapper Nelly name-dropped Gordon in a song.

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Gordon collected four championships in seven years and had 58 victories before his 30th birthday. He hasn’t won a Sprint Cup title since 2001 — and Johnson has won six.

Gordon, who is 42 and often drives with an aching back, added to his lead in this year’s Sprint Cup standings by winning Sunday’s Brickyard 400. It was his record fifth victory in the race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Although he talked in January of retirement considerations, Gordon is reinvigorated and deeply committed to winning a fifth Cup title with his No. 24 team.

“You feel like you’ve kind of won all that you could win, you’ve won four championships, then a guy like Jimmie Johnson comes along and starts dominating, you kind of lose the motivation,” Gordon said.

Gordon seized the lead from Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne of Enumclaw on a restart with 17 laps left in the Brickyard 400. Kahne finished sixth.

“I treated him like a competitor at that point; he might not have liked it,” Gordon said. “When it comes down to the end of a race, we’re here to win.”


Polluted bay awaits sailors in Rio

Sailors, coaches and Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes acknowledge the problem: Guanabara Bay, the venue for sailing at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, is badly polluted. Some liken it to a sewer.

The water is filthy after years of untreated waste being poured into the enclosed bay, a mess officials say will take at least a decade to fix.

From a distance, the venue is picturesque, framed between Sugarloaf Mountain and the Christ the Redeemer statue. This is the image Rio organizers want the world to see.

Yes, the venue is likely to look good on television. The conditions for the athletes? That’s another story.

“A few days ago, one of the sailors had to jump in the water and the first thing he did after coming up was take a bottle of water and wash his mouth and face,” said Ivan Bulaja, a former Olympian who coaches the Austrian team. “When you feel this water on your face, you feel uncomfortable. You have no idea what’s in it.”

But sail they will, starting Sunday with the first test event of the Rio Games. The weeklong regatta will feature 10 Olympic classes, with 216 boats and 321 competitors from 34 nations.


Case against Messi goes forward

A Spanish judge rejected a prosecutor’s request to drop charges of tax fraud against FC Barcelona standout Lionel Messi and ordered the investigation into three cases of suspected unpaid taxes to proceed.

A court statement said there was “sufficient evidence” to believe Messi, 27, “could have known and consented” to the creation of a fictitious corporate structure to avoid paying taxes on income from his image rights.

Messi’s father, Jorge Horacio Messi, is under investigation for an alleged $5.3 million in unpaid taxes from 2007 to 2009.

Jorge Horacio Messi made a payment $6.6 million in August to cover alleged unpaid taxes, plus interest.


Nneka Ogwumike scored 21 points and Alana Beard added 17 to help the Los Angeles Sparks beat the Indiana Fever 77-73 in a WNBA game.

• Top-ranked Serena Williams finally realized what happened days later, when she was allowed to get out of bed.

Williams said she was barely aware of how sick she was as she tried to play through a viral infection that caused her to lose equilibrium during a tennis doubles match with sister Venus at Wimbledon earlier this month.

Once Serena was allowed to get out of bed, she went to Croatia and practiced in the morning before moving on to other activities.

“I was running and swimming and jumping in the ocean,” Williams said. “I tried to stay away from the sharks. That’s pretty good motivation.”

• In superstar Usain Bolt’s absence, training partner Kemar Bailey-Cole collected the first individual gold of his career by sprinting to victory in the 100 meters at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.

The 22-year-old Jamaican clocked exactly 10 seconds. Bolt, recovering from a foot injury, will be limited to the 4×100 relay at the Commonwealth Games.

Blessing Okagbare, 25, of Nigeria won the women’s 100 in 10.85 seconds.

• Former Georgia sprinter Torrin Lawrence, the 2010 NCAA indoor champion at 400 meters, died Monday morning in an accident near Cordele, Ga. He was 25.

Crisp County Sheriff Billy Hancock said Lawrence was driving on Interstate 75 about 1:40 a.m. when a tire blew out. Lawrence got out of the car to make a phone call and a tractor-trailer came over a crest and struck the car, knocking the vehicle into Lawrence, according to Hancock.

Seattle Times news services