Robby Gordon Finishes a Disappointing 41st at the Monster Mile

DOVER, Del. (Sept. 24, 2006) -- As the top 10 chase the NASCAR Nextel Cup, Robby Gordon was chasing a solid finish in this weekend's Dover 400 to help thrust him higher in the points. An eventual tire failure and resulting crash left the No. 7 Menards/MAPEI team asking "what could have been."

Starting from 14th, his best qualifying effort at the one-mile oval since September 2003, Gordon was in position to make his move to the front.

As the green flag waived, Gordon was able to move up two positions before the first caution flag of the day was displayed on the second lap of the 400-mile event. Restarting from 12th, Gordon passed one more competitor and sat just outside the top 10 before the yellow lights of the caution car slowed the field again on lap 11.

With a car that in practice had proven to be better on the long run than the short, Gordon and crew chief Greg Erwin were hoping to see the caution car parked for a while.

Their hopes were quickly dashed as the caution flag waived just seven laps later with Gordon now sitting in 10th position. Once the field got their chance to finally make a long run, the No. 7 Menards/MAPEI Chevy drove deeper into the top 10, taking eighth on lap 28 and seventh by lap 32.

Battling a slight tightness in the center of the corner, Gordon got his first chance at adjustments on lap 49. Coming in for air pressure adjustment to his four fresh Goodyear tires, Gordon got caught in his pit by the No. 26 of Jamie McMurray and relegated him to 22nd when the green flag brought the field back to full speed.

By lap 85, any ground that he had lost in the pits was quickly regained as Gordon crossed the line posted in 14th.

To help the tight condition that was getting progressively worse, Gordon moved to the high groove to hopefully maintain his position within the top 15.

He continued on until a right-side tire failure and contact with the SAFER barrier brought Gordon limping down pit road on lap 98, ending his day and a shot at another solid points finish.

"Dover has just not agreed with us this year," said the dejected Gordon. "We didn't perform back in June and we hoped to come here this weekend and really make a run at the top 20. We qualified well and performed well in practice, but our bad luck here eventually bit us before we could really show what we had.

"We definitely had a shot at a top 10 finish today and that's the most disappointing part. Our qualifying game has stepped up over the last couple of weeks and we had a car capable of hanging with the leaders. We need to get back to where we were a couple of weeks ago and hopefully we can accomplish that in Kansas."

Gordon and the No. 7 Harrah's Chevy will now head Dorothy's homeland and the 1.5-mile tri-oval of Kansas Speedway. Catch coverage of the action on Oct. 1 at 1:30 p.m. EDT on NBC. Radio coverage can be heard on national MRN affiliates beginning at 1:30 p.m. EDT.

-credit: team gordon