No. 7 Menards Team Fights Back at Martinsville Charlotte, N.C. (October 20, 2008) --After posting fast laps in both practice sessions on Saturday, the No. 7 Menards Dodge Charger looked like it would deliver an excellent showing in Sunday's...
No. 7 Menards Team Fights Back at Martinsville
Charlotte, N.C. (October 20, 2008) --After posting fast laps in both practice sessions on Saturday, the No. 7 Menards Dodge Charger looked like it would deliver an excellent showing in Sunday's short-track race at Martinsville Speedway. When the green flag fell for the Tums QuikPak 500, the team quickly went to work implementing their race strategy -- to pick up valuable track position and bring home a good finish at the paperclip-shaped 0.526-mile oval.
The first caution of the day on Lap 28 allowed the team to adjust the car's handling early, which Gordon had radioed to the crew as being "a little tight in the middle and a little loose off." Gordon came down pit lane for fuel, two tires and a chassis adjustment.
During the second caution period on Lap 60, the yellow-and-blue Dodge Charger stayed on the race track while most of the field pitted. Gordon gained the track position that he needed to make his way to the front and restarted 11th. During the next two cautions, the crew decided not to pit, which kept them in the top-20 during the first 100 laps.
As the race progressed, the No. 7 continued running on the lead lap around the flat Virginia half-mile track. Gordon radioed his crew on Lap 141, stating that "the car is a little loose in the first half of the corner." To fix the handling, he came to pit road when the sixth caution flag waved on Lap 161. The Menards crew called for a two-tire stop, picking up nine positions on pit lane. Gordon restarted in 24th position.
Just after the pit stop, Gordon told the crew that he felt like he was going to lose a rear-end gear. Gordon was running in the 25th position on Lap 174 when the Menards Charger finally had the gear failure and was forced to go to the garage for repair. The crew worked feverishly to replace the gear and get Gordon back out on the track.
The No. 7 Menards team returned to the track on Lap 222, scored in the 41st position. Despite the gear failure, the team persevered to finish 40th.
"Our car was fast in practice on Saturday. We really thought that we had a car that could finish at least in the top-20 or better," said Gordon. "The broken rear-end gear was an unfortunate incident, but the guys did a good job fixing it and getting us back out to finish the race."
"Before it broke, we were steadily making our way to the front and doing what we needed to do. We stayed on the lead lap and kept strategizing on how to make up more ground on the leaders. With as fast as we were at Charlotte a couple weeks ago, I am really looking forward to this weekend's race at Atlanta," commented Gordon.