Robby Gordon Brings It Home In 15th Place LOUDON, N.H. (Sept. 17, 2006) -- Robby Gordon came into New Hampshire International Speedway, the same track where he captured his first victory as NASCAR Nextel Cup driver, with sights set on ...
Robby Gordon Brings It Home In 15th Place
LOUDON, N.H. (Sept. 17, 2006) -- Robby Gordon came into New Hampshire International Speedway, the same track where he captured his first victory as NASCAR Nextel Cup driver, with sights set on regaining back his position within the top 25 in points. Falling from 24th to 26th in points over the last few weeks, Gordon was looking to rebound and continue on what was a steady climb towards the top 20.
Starting Sunday's Sylvania 300 from the 9th position, his best starting position in 13 previous attempts at the 1-mile oval, he was in place to do just that.
Early in the race it looked like unwanted circumstances would not make it easy for Gordon to accomplish his goal. Following the second caution of the day on lap 28, he headed to pit road for routine adjustments to help the No. 7 gain grip in the corners. Upon exiting pit road, his left rear tire came loose, forcing him back down pit road, losing the advantage that a top-10 start gave him. Gordon would restart 37th on a track notoriously difficult to pass on.
In search of his next worthy opponent lap after lap, and with the finesse of a veteran driver, Gordon was 23rd by the time the next caution flag flew on lap 79 and restarting in the 21st position.
Strategy was the name of the game at this point to help gain positions both on pit road and on track. Pitting on lap 98 while most of the leaders stayed out helped Gordon to forgo fuel longer than the others if the field remained at green-flag pace. Although a gamble, it would pay off as the No. 7 Jim Beam Chevy was posted as leader of the 43-car field on lap 175 and gained the coveted five bonus points.
Adjustments by crew chief Greg Erwin coupled with strategy now really started to pay off as Gordon began gaining ground on the cars he was chasing.
"That race car has come alive," was broadcasted over the radio by Erwin as the No. 7 drove almost effortlessly passed another competitor. Gordon now found himself within the top 20.
Continuing on through cautions and rounds of pit stops to gain a spot inside the top 15 and maintain for the remainder of the race, Gordon brought the No. 7 Jim Beam Chevy home in 15th place.
"This was a points day that we really needed," said the former New Hampshire winner. "We definitely struggled at times today and I think it's a testament to how this team has been of late, to be able to come back from something that could've ended our day (lost wheel), and get a top-15 finish.
"We were able to gain some ground on the cars in front of us (in points) and with some more hard work, we can continue to improve throughout the rest of the season."
Gordon and the No. 7 Menards/MAPEI Chevy will now head to the concrete bull ring of Dover International Speedway and attempt to tame the Monster Mile. Catch coverage of the action from the 1-mile oval on Sunday, September 24 at 12:30 p.m. EDT on TNT. Radio coverage can be heard on national MRN affiliates beginning at 12:30 p.m. EDT.