Martinsville II: Robby Gordon race report

Robby Gordon Finishes 37th at Martinsville Speedway MARTINSVILLE, Va. (Oct. 22, 2006) -- Robby Gordon, who started Sunday's Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway from the 26th position, was hoping to surpass his previous best finish of 20th at ...

Robby Gordon Finishes 37th at Martinsville Speedway

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (Oct. 22, 2006) -- Robby Gordon, who started Sunday's Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway from the 26th position, was hoping to surpass his previous best finish of 20th at the half-mile track with a solid top-five run in the No. 7 Menards/Mapei (ma-pay) Chevy. Despite consistent runs in practice that mirrored those of the likes of Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch, Gordon became the victim of unfortunate circumstances when the pinion gear failed, costing the team nearly 60 laps in the garage for repairs, resulting in a 37th-place finish.

"I think Martinsville and I are going to agree to disagree," said a dejected Gordon. "The car showed potential in practice despite not being able to put up a huge number right from the get go. We knew that we were consistently good over the long run and were hoping to get a chance to bring home a solid finish and eliminate our bad luck here. It just didn't happen for us again this time."

Gordon ran into bad luck early as slight damage to the front bumper restricted airflow into the No. 7's radiator, causing engine water temperatures to reach damaging heights. Fearing that the DEI power plant was being hurt, Gordon and crew caught a break when the second caution flag of the day flew on lap 64 running in the 23rd position.

Removing the remaining tape from the grill, thus allowing plenty of fresh air to reach Gordon's radiator, he resumed the race in 26th-position still on the lead lap.

For what would ultimately be the longest green-flag run of the day, Gordon was steadily moving his way up through the field and by lap 130 had his sights set on the top 20. As he accelerated coming out of turn 2, full throttle was met with a large vibration from the No. 7's rear end. Bringing his wounded car to the garage for an inspection, nobody on the Menards/Mapei crew knew exactly where the vibration was coming from. Assuming the problem was gear related, the team changed the rear gear and sent Gordon back to competition hoping they had corrected the problem.

"We weren't exactly sure what happened at first," Gordon said. "There was a large vibration when I mashed the gas coming out of 1 and 2 and I made another lap-and-half and brought it to the garage. The guys worked really hard to diagnose the problem and correct it and get us back out there."

As Gordon returned to the track over 60 laps down to the leaders, he set his sights on gaining as many positions as possible as others ran into their own issues. He gained six positions over the course of the remaining laps.

"It seems like this place owes us one. We have a good car and setup for Martinsville and we'll come back in the spring next year and try to avoid the issues we seem to have here," Gordon said. "We'll move on to Atlanta and hopefully start exactly where we left off last time (top-five run before engine failure ended Gordon's day)."

Gordon and the No. 7 Jim Beam Chevy make their way back to Atlanta for the Bass Pro Shops 500 at the 1.5-mile quad oval.

-credit: team gordon

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Robby Gordon , Kurt Busch , Jim Beam