Pocono II: Robby Gordon preview

Robby Gordon Rallies to a 13th-place Finish LONG POND, PA. (July 23, 2006) -- Robby Gordon's performance at Sunday's Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway was another solid result for the No. 7 Menards/MAPEI (ma-pay) Chevy as they crossed ...

Robby Gordon Rallies to a 13th-place Finish

LONG POND, PA. (July 23, 2006) -- Robby Gordon's performance at Sunday's Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway was another solid result for the No. 7 Menards/MAPEI (ma-pay) Chevy as they crossed the finish line in the 13th place to bring home their fourth consecutive top-20 finish. Having finished in the top-20 11 out of the 20 races so far this season, Gordon and the No. 7 crew are optimistic about chances of attaining their goal of entering the top 20 in points.

Beginning the 500-mile race in the 29th position after what could best be described as a "disappointing" qualifying effort, work was exactly what was in store for the No. 7 team. With practice cancelled on Saturday due to rain, NASCAR threw a competition caution on lap 20 to give the crews a chance to work on their cars. With Gordon heading to pit road in the 23rd position complaining of a tight condition, four fresh tires, fuel and two rounds of wedge out were on deck. Restarting 23rd, Gordon would fight his way into the top 15 before the next caution flag waved on lap 31.

After the field came back to green, Gordon continued to run in the top 15 for the next 34 laps. As the green flag run grew longer, the No. 7 Chevy progressively got tighter and tighter. The problem eventually became severe enough that Gordon short pitted on lap 65 to get new tires and a much needed adjustment. Bad luck would rear its ugly head though as the caution flag came out on lap 66, catching Gordon one lap down in the 40th position.

Able to fight his way back through the field to the 24th position by lap 75, Gordon continued to run towards the front until lap 120. Heading to pit road with a left rear tire failure, Gordon lost a lap to the leaders. Desperate for a caution to be the beneficiary of the "lucky dog," Gordon's hopes were met on lap 149 as the fifth caution of the day slowed the field. Restarting in the 25th position with only 45 of 200 laps remaining in the event, Gordon battled back into the top 20 by lap 167. With the tight condition that had plagued the No. 7 for most of the day corrected, Gordon and crew chief Greg Erwin set their sights on continuing their streak of top-20 finishes.

The field would see two more cautions before the final 16-lap dash would eventually place Gordon in the 13th position.

"We didn't have everything go our way and I made one huge mistake that could have cost us big," said Gordon. "I made the decision to short pit thinking that we would pick up a lot of valuable time on new tires, and as it always seems to do, the caution came out the lap after we stopped and put us a lap down. I should know better, but I was trying to make something happen. Fortunately we got our lap back and I was able to make it up to our guys. Then we had the tire go down and I thought for sure our day was doomed. The cautions fell at the right time at the end and we made up a lot of ground in the final 16-lap run.

"We're still not even close to being where we want to be or where we can be. But we're moving in the right direction. We're coming together as a team and everyone is working hard to try and knock the newness off our organization. To run as well as we do after only a year and a half makes me proud, but it doesn't make me satisfied. We need to turn some of these top 20s and top 15s into top 10s, and if we can continue that we'll reach our goal of finishing the season inside the top 20 in points. That was the goal to start, and even though we put ourselves in the hole with a few mistakes I'm confident we can get back where we belong."

Gordon and the rest of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series will take a break next weekend as they gear up for 400 miles of racing at the famed 2.5-mile oval in Indianapolis. Catch coverage of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday, August 6th at 2 p.m. EDT on NBC. Radio coverage can be heard on national IMS affiliates beginning at 2 p.m. EDT.

-rgm-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Robby Gordon , Greg Erwin