Homestead: Robby Gordon race report

Gordon Finishes 26th in the Last Race of the 2008 Season Charlotte, N.C. (November 18, 2008) -- Robby Gordon Motorsports entered the last race of the season with high hopes. With a string of strong performances at intermediate tracks...

Gordon Finishes 26th in the Last Race of the 2008 Season

Charlotte, N.C. (November 18, 2008) -- Robby Gordon Motorsports entered the last race of the season with high hopes. With a string of strong performances at intermediate tracks throughout the second half of the Sprint Cup season, the No. 7 team hoped to finish of the year on a high note at Homestead Miami Speedway. Strong runs in practice and a 14th place qualifying effort kept the team's confidence high as they prepared the car for the final event of 2008.

Robby Gordon started the 267-lap event with a very strong racecar. For the first 50 laps, he ran around the 15th position. Gordon commented that "the car was great when it was by itself." As Gordon caught traffic, he noticed that the car started to develop a tight condition. Shortly after a green-flag pit stop, Gordon called in to the crew to ask them to loosen up the car on the next stop. He predicted that as the sun went down and the track cooled, the No. 7 Jim Beam Charger would be too tight.

A caution flag on Lap 69 gave the crew a chance to raise the trackbar to help the handling of the car. At first, the adjustments helped as Gordon raced in the top-20. But as the track continued to cool, the tight condition returned to the Jim Beam Charger.

As the night progressed, the crew continued to make various changes to the No. 7 to adjust the handling in order to adapt to the changing track conditions. Around Lap 180, Gordon called into the crew asking them to tighten up his racecar. "You can notice a big difference in traffic," said Gordon. "We're very loose back here."

During a pit stop on Lap 209, the crew made two chassis adjustments and an air pressure adjustment to get Gordon's car ready for the finish. After they packed the fuel tank, the crew radioed to Gordon that he would need to conserve fuel throughout the run. They calculated that he was just two laps short of his fuel window. The team hoped to pick up positions as their competition stopped late in the race for additional fuel. The strategy worked out perfectly as Gordon conserved enough fuel to coast to a 26th place finish.

The finish allowed the No. 7 team to maintain their spot in the final owners' points, which guarantees them a starting position in the first five events of the 2009 season.

"We've learned a lot this season," said Gordon. "I think our team continues to get better every week, and I'm proud of the improvements that we've made throughout the 2008 season. If you look at just superspeedway races, we finished second in the restrictor-plate points. We have continued to show improvement at intermediate tracks, like Charlotte and Texas. We put together some very strong runs throughout this season, and hopefully we can build on that to be even better in 2009."

"I'd also like to thank our fans for all their support," continued Gordon. "We've had some great showings of fan support this year with the All-Star Vote and 'Rally for Robby.' I appreciate everything our fans do for us and enjoy meeting them at the souvenir trailer every weekend. I hope that everyone will continue to monitor our team as we are gearing up for the Baja 1000 later this week and the Dakar Rally in January. We will have updates on our website throughout the off-season so that all our fans can stay updated. I hope everyone has a very safe and happy holiday season, and we'll see you in Daytona!"

-credit: rgm

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Series NASCAR-CUP