Fontana II: Robby Gordon race report

The Return Home Ends With a Disappointing Finish for Robby Gordon FONTANA, CALIF. (Sept. 3, 2006) -- >From nearby Orange, Calif., Robby Gordon started the NASCAR Nextel Cup Sony HD 500 Sunday afternoon hopeful of a top-five finish in front of a...

The Return Home Ends With a Disappointing Finish for Robby Gordon

FONTANA, CALIF. (Sept. 3, 2006) -- >From nearby Orange, Calif., Robby Gordon started the NASCAR Nextel Cup Sony HD 500 Sunday afternoon hopeful of a top-five finish in front of a hometown crowd that included family and countless friends.

Hoping to improve on a disappointing 26th-place finish earlier this year at California Speedway, the tempo was set early after a tire failure following contact with the No. 00 of Bill Elliott. Following Gordon's trip down pit road on lap seven and going a lap down in the process, the stage was set for a long evening.

Running in the 43rd position, the only car one-lap down, Gordon battled to remain in that position until the caution flag finally flew on lap 27. Gordon regained his position on the lead lap and once again began his charge towards the front.

Fighting his way to the top 20 by lap 100, Gordon was now in position to ride until the time came to capture what at least would be his 13th top-20 finish to date this season, already surpassing last year's mark by eight.

Crossing the line to begin lap 101 and determined to bring home what would be his best finish at the 2-mile D-shaped oval since 2004, Gordon dove to the inside of turn 1 and passed four cars to take his place within the top 15 and continued to maintain that position until the caution came out on lap 109.

Still running in the top 20, Gordon radioed on lap 167 with the thought that the motor was beginning to falter. Heading to pit road on lap 174 for adjustments to make his run at the top-15 cars, Gordon restarted in the 19th position for what would be his last green flag run of the night.

As he passed the start/finish line to complete lap 187, sparks flew from a broken tailpipe underneath the No. 7 Chevy. Bringing the car to pit road to investigate the issue, the crew realized that the severity of the problem could only be corrected back in the garage. As the remainder of the field pitted for fuel for the final dash to the checkered flag, Gordon slowly rolled the No. 7 behind the wall.

As a result of the heat from the broken tailpipe, the transmission failed and the team was relegated to a 43rd-place finish. Gordon and the rest of the No. 7 crew called it a night and got set to make the long journey back to North Carolina.

"It was a long night," said Gordon. "We had a few problems early, but rebounded from them. We went a lap down early in the race and drove right back into it, that part was fun. The tailpipe broke for some reason and that eventually broke the transmission, ending our night. We really needed a good finish to bring us into the top 20 in points but it just didn't come together for us tonight."

While others battle for their place within the Chase, Gordon and the No. 7 Jim Beam Black Chevy will continue their own battle to be within the top 20 by season's end. They will now head to Richmond International Raceway for some Saturday night short-track racing in the Chevy Rock & Roll 400.

-credit: team gordon

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