Robby Gordon piloting the No. 31 RCR Chevrolet turned the fastest lap in final practice for NEXTEL Cup teams. Gordon's lap of 130.312 mph bested the field b nearly one mile-per-hour. Robby Gordon. Photo by Kurt Dahlstrom. "The...
Robby Gordon piloting the No. 31 RCR Chevrolet turned the fastest lap in final practice for NEXTEL Cup teams. Gordon's lap of 130.312 mph bested the field b nearly one mile-per-hour.
It was announced last week that Gordon will be replaced in the No. 31 ride next year by Jeff Burton. This is Gordon's final three races within the RCR organization. Gordon plans on fielding his own Cup and Busch effort next season.
"We'll have the Fruit of the Loom Chevrolet that we're going to run the Busch Series 24 events," said Gordon of his future. "The team is already in place. The buildings and equipment is in place so it's not going to be that big of a deal to roll it up to the next level to compete in the Cup Series."
Kasey Kahne posted the second fastest time with a lap of 129.711 mph.
"Our qualifying lap wasn't great on Friday," said Kahne. "I'm really surprised it held up fourth place. I thought we'd be lucky to start in the top-15, but starting fourth is a real bonus. I'd love to get up to 11th in the standings in these last three races, but Jamie McMurray would probably have to break for that to happen. We can definitely get to 12th."
The third quickest time was charted by Rusty Wallace with a lap of 129.562 mph.
"I feel good about Sunday," said Wallace. "We'll see what happens."
Jeff Green and Jeff Gordon complete the top five fastest times.
"It is a challenge because I've always liked this race track," said Gordon of his anticipation for the race. "It's just a very temperamental track to get that right feel and that right balance on. I love the whole are of Phoenix. It's just a beautiful area. I'm looking forward to coming here twice (in '05). We'd love to get a victory out here before we start coming here twice."
Pole sitter Ryan Newman slowed considerably from this track record breaking time trial lap Friday. Newman was only 12th speediest with a time of 128.824 mph.
Point leader Kurt Busch was 17th fastest, while his closest rival for the title, Jimmie Johnson grabbed the ninth best lap.
Final practice was slowed once just three laps in due to the No. 15 Chevy of Michael Waltrip cutting a tire and hitting the wall.