Daytona 500: Robby Gordon race report

Charlotte, N.C. (February 16, 2009) -- After an early mechanical problem, Robby Gordon and the No. 7 Jim Beam crew finished the rain-shortened Daytona 500 in 34th place. Everything was falling into place for the No. 7 Jim Beam team until ...

Charlotte, N.C. (February 16, 2009) -- After an early mechanical problem, Robby Gordon and the No. 7 Jim Beam crew finished the rain-shortened Daytona 500 in 34th place.

Everything was falling into place for the No. 7 Jim Beam team until Lap 35. Gordon called into the crew to report a possible right front tire going down on the Jim Beam Toyota, forcing him to come down pit road for an unscheduled pit stop. Once Gordon pulled into his pit box, the Jim Beam crew realized that the problem wasn't a flat tire but rather a broken right front shock or component. Since there was not enough time to fix the failed part during the green flag stop, the crew changed right-side tires and sent Gordon back on the race track. In the laps that followed, the team formulated a plan to evaluate the shock under the next caution. When Gordon went back out on the track, he was scored one lap behind the leaders.

The No. 7 Jim Beam team spent the rest of the race trying to recover from the mechanical problem, which was later determined to be a missing shock bolt. Unfortunately, the team never caught a break to receive the Lucky Dog. By Lap 124, Gordon was running in the high line and was finally in contention for the Lucky Dog position. However, when the No. 83 and No. 88 made contact in the bottom grove, the 83 turned up into Gordon's Toyota and sent him spinning through the infield grass. Luckily, Gordon just did a 360 spin, and other than the initial contact, he didn't hit anyone or anything. Within minimal damage, Gordon went down pit road for fresh tires. NASCAR did not issue a Lucky Dog during the caution, so Gordon continued his fight to work his way up through the field contending for the lucky dog position.

He was unable to get the free pass before the skies opened up. Rain started falling in Turn 2 around Lap 146 and quickly washed out the track. After 152 Laps, NASCAR put the race under red flag conditions and made the call to make the Daytona 500 an official race. The early finish placed Gordon in the 34th position.

"Today was obviously frustrating," said Gordon, driver of the No. 7 Jim Beam Toyota Camry. "We had a car capable of running with the leaders and getting a good finish, but we never got the opportunity to go racing. We were playing it safe early on, but after having a shock issue and losing a lap, we were never able to recover."

"It is really too bad because the Jim Beam team put in so much time preparing for this race. It is very disappointing and frustrating to finish 34th today. We head to California later this week and hope to have a better result for our sponsors, employees, and fans," concluded Gordon.

The Sprint Cup Series will travel across the country to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.

-credit: rgm

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Robby Gordon , Jim Beam