A Tough Start Turns Into a 16th-place Finish for Robby Gordon and the No. 7 Jim Beam Black Chevy CONCORD, N.C. (May 28, 2006) -- Starting in the 41st position, Robby Gordon and the No. 7 Jim Beam Black Chevy had some ground to make up in the...
A Tough Start Turns Into a 16th-place Finish for Robby Gordon and the No. 7 Jim Beam Black Chevy
CONCORD, N.C. (May 28, 2006) -- Starting in the 41st position, Robby Gordon and the No. 7 Jim Beam Black Chevy had some ground to make up in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. After a cut tire and hard contact with the wall during final practice, the No. 7 team had to go to the back-up car. The same car that was run both at Atlanta and Texas, Gordon and the team were confident they had a car that could be a contender when the time came to make a charge to the front.
It was evident early on that a tight condition that had plagued Gordon the night before in the NASCAR Busch Series race was going to rear its ugly head once again. Luckily the caution flag flew on lap 33, giving Gordon the chance to make the first stop of the night. With a two-tire stop for track position and an adjustment to free up the car, Gordon was in great position to cruise and be in place to move to the front when the opportunity came. Soon after the green flag, Gordon turned his fastest lap of the race so far.
In a race that saw 15 caution flags for a total of 50 laps, Gordon and the No. 7 team had plenty of opportunity to adjust the car to the changing track and the hard Goodyear tire. A car that would go from tight to loose during the early stages of a run, the No. 7 Jim Beam Black Chevy would come to Gordon after about 15 laps, showing lap times that were consistent with those of the cars at the front. In the season's longest race, 400 laps around the 1.5-mile D-shaped oval, Gordon showed patience and the sense of mind to save his equipment for that critical moment. On lap 367 Gordon began his charge and was able to chase down and pass Bobby Labonte in the No. 43 from over 1.5 seconds behind to finish in the 16th position.
"We came into the race with a great car and unfortunately had a right-front tire go down and hit the turn-four wall," said Gordon. "Our back-up car had really great runs at Atlanta and Texas, so we knew that we would be alright once we got the car adjusted. I'm really proud of the guys for the quick pit stops and the great calls from Greg (Erwin) that gave us track position when the car wasn't handling like we wanted.
"I'm pretty happy with where we were able to finish tonight. The 600 is a long night and our main goal was to be there at the end to make a run toward the front. We battled all night a car that would go from one extreme to the other on the short runs. Once we got a long run at the end we made our way as fast as we could. Overall though we had a great run and I'm looking forward to next week when we head up to Dover."
Gordon and the No. 7 Mapei/Menards Chevrolet will take on the Monster Mile next Sunday at Dover International Raceway. Gordon will run triple duty next weekend, running two different trucks at the Baja 500 in Mexico on Saturday as well. Catch coverage of the Neighborhood Excellence 400 at 1:30 p.m. EDT on FX. Radio coverage can be heard on national MRN affiliates beginning at 1:30 p.m. EDT.
A Chronic Tight Condition Leads to a Disappointing 40th-place Finish for Robby Gordon
CONCORD, N.C. (May 27, 2006) -- The green flag dropped shortly after 8 p.m. in the No. 7 Harrah's Chevy's first Busch Series race of the 2006 season, the CARQUEST Auto Parts 300, at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Starting in the 27th position, with top-10 runs in both practices, it looked like Robby Gordon was on his way to a performance similar to last weekend's Nextel Open, where he passed seven cars within the first two laps. After the green flag flew Gordon was quick to diagnose the No. 7 Harrah's Chevy with a tight condition.
After the caution flag came out twice within the first 20 laps, and Gordon was one of several cars to hit pit road, he was in the 14th position when the green flag fell again to bring the field back to racing on lap 21.
The next chance for much-needed adjustments would not come for another 40 laps. Coming into the pits one-lap down, Erwin had some radical adjustments on deck. After the field went back to green, it looked like the changes had rectified the extreme push that Gordon was feeling. Only 30 laps later, he once again said that the tight condition was back. The only solution was to pit under green to make the necessary adjustments so that Gordon could make an attempt at getting back on the lead lap.
With the tight condition here to stay for the evening, Gordon and Erwin agreed that the remainder of the race would be used as a test session for Sunday night's Coca-Cola 600. The caution flag flew again on lap 119 and he headed to pit road for what turned out to be the final stop of the race. With a tire pressure adjustment to the right side tires which loosened the car considerably, the No. 7 broke loose and made contact with the SAFER barrier in turn 2 ending the night.
"It could have definitely been a better night for us," Gordon said. "We had a really good car in practice and I thought that we had a legitimate shot at another top-five run tonight, but as soon as the race started we battled an extremely tight race car. We tried a lot of different adjustments to help get the car to where I could be competitive but it never came to us. Greg (Erwin) felt that we needed to use the rest of the race as an opportunity to get a better idea of how Sunday night's race was going to unfold.
"Unfortunately we made too much of an adjustment late in the race and made the car just to loose and it got away from me and that pretty much ended our night. I think we have a pretty good idea though of how we are going to run Sunday night. Hopefully we can get the car adjusted to where we can ride in a good position and be ready to make a charge to the front towards the end."
Gordon will take some time off from the Busch Series, as Gordon No. 7 Mapei/Menards Chevy will take on the Monster Mile next Sunday at Dover International Raceway. Gordon will run triple duty next weekend, running two different trucks at the Baja 500 in Mexico on Saturday as well. Catch coverage of the Neighborhood Excellence 400 at 1:30 p.m. EDT on FX. Radio coverage can be heard on national MRN affiliates beginning at 1:30 p.m. EDT