Gordon Finishes 28th at Phoenix Charlotte, NC (November 11, 2008) -- The No. 7 Jim Beam / Operation Homefront team expected a good finish in Sunday's Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 following strong runs in practice and qualifying. After a...
Gordon Finishes 28th at Phoenix
Charlotte, NC (November 11, 2008) -- The No. 7 Jim Beam / Operation Homefront team expected a good finish in Sunday's Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 following strong runs in practice and qualifying. After a long day of racing including two red-flag periods, they left Phoenix International Raceway with a 28th-place finish and maintained their current owner points position.
Shortly after the drop of the green flag, the No. 7 Jim Beam / Operation Homefront Charger developed a slight loose condition. An opportune caution on Lap 19 gave the team a chance to tighten up the car. By Lap 35, the handling on Gordon's Charger was perfect. He called into the crew to say, "If we can pick up some track position, we have a really strong car here."
The red flag came out on Lap 43 for a rain shower passing through the area. The welcomed break allowed the Jim Beam / Operation Homefront crew a chance to discuss the race strategy and develop a plan to make necessary changes to the No. 7 Dodge Charger to perfect the car's handling.
When the race resumed, Gordon's car continued to get looser. He reported that he was struggling with side bite through the entry and exit of the turns. Gordon came down pit road for a green-flag stop on Lap 109. The crew made an adjustment to tighten up the car and sent Gordon back on the track with four tires and fuel.
Gordon was running lap times as fast as the leaders after the stop, but noticed that about 30 laps into a run the car started to get loose again. The crew continued to fix the car with slight air pressure adjustments during each caution period. When the yellow flag came out on Lap 261, Gordon's car was loose on entry and exit, but tight through the center of the turn. The team decided to treat the loose condition by making a track bar adjustment on the No. 7 Jim Beam / Operation Homefront Charger. The change would allow him to get back on the gas quicker as he exited the turns and would give Gordon the side bite that he needed on exit.
Melee ensued just behind Gordon on Lap 273 as an eight-car pileup brought out another red flag. With less than 40 laps until the finish, Gordon's crew decided to call him down pit road for fresh tires and fuel. The team restarted in the 29th position.
A stream of cautions allowed the team to pick up another position; Gordon was scored in 28th position when the checkered flag flew on the 313-lap event. The team remains in the 34th position in owner points.
"The guys did a great job preparing the car for the race this weekend," said Gordon. "We brought a brand new car to Phoenix and were optimistic about our chances. If we could have picked up some track position today, I'm sure we would have had a strong finish. We've had a lot of strong runs on intermediate tracks over the last few weeks, and we're hoping to continue that next weekend in Homestead."