Robby Gordon's Disappointing Day Ends With a 40th-place Finish Sonoma, Calif. (June 25, 2006) -- Robby Gordon, widely regarded as one of the premier road-course racers in NASCAR Nextel Cup Series competition, came into the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at...
Robby Gordon's Disappointing Day Ends With a 40th-place Finish
Sonoma, Calif. (June 25, 2006) -- Robby Gordon, widely regarded as one of the premier road-course racers in NASCAR Nextel Cup Series competition, came into the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway convinced that this was the chance for the No. 7 team to end its winless streak. With top-10 runs in each of the weekend's three practice sessions, the No. 7 Chevy would be a contender again at the 1.99-mile road course. After an unfavorable qualifying draw, Gordon would begin the day in the 14th position.
With an aggressive style that has earned him a reputation as one of the best road racers in the world, Gordon positioned the Menards/Energizer Chevy in third place by lap 15.
"Our race to lose, boys," came over the radio as Gordon made his charge on the second place car of Ryan Newman. Shown as the fastest car on track at that point, Gordon would pass the No. 12 car with ease as he continued to hunt down the leader.
Running with the intention of only making two stops for tires and fuel during the 110-lap race, Gordon could not afford any issues on pit road. As he made his way to the pits on lap 28, he was comfortably in second place and in position to win his first NASCAR Nextel Cup race as a car owner. With what began as a routine stop for fuel and four fresh Goodyear tires, Gordon's hopes would soon diminish as a miscue during the stop left him in eighth place after the rest of the field cycled through their green flag stops.
The issue on pit road would soon be compounded five laps later as side-by-side contact with the No. 60 of Boris Said would cause irreversible damage to Gordon's No. 7 Menards/Energizer Chevy. With left front fender damage and the toe knocked in, Gordon struggled to keep the No. 7 Chevy running within the top 10 for the remainder of his day.
The problem eventually worsened to the point of creating a left-front tire failure on lap 75. As he headed to pit road he made contact with the wall breaking the tie rod, sidelining him for good with a 40th-place finish.
"We definitely beat ourselves this weekend," said Gordon. "Between the mistake on pit road and Boris running into us, it seems that we just can't catch a break these last couple of weeks. Without a doubt it was going to come down to us or the 24 (race winner Jeff Gordon), but they ran a mistake-free race and we didn't. That's why Jeff has won so many of these at Sonoma. It's really disappointing that we couldn't capitalize on that. Going from the fastest car on the track to barely being able to hang in the top 10 is just really disappointing.
"After the toe was knocked in, I just couldn't catch the guys in front of me once they settled into their groove. It eventually worsened to the point were it caused the left front to go down. I was trying to take it easy coming in, but I turned right to make the right-hander coming onto pit road and it just didn't turn, it went straight into the wall. The tie rod broke and it ended any chance we had of coming out and even getting a top-15 finish."
Gordon and the No. 7 Harrah's Chevrolet will head to Daytona International Speedway to celebrate America's birthday with some Saturday night racing at the official home of NASCAR. Catch coverage on Saturday, July 1 at 7:30 p.m. EDT on FOX. Radio coverage can be heard on national MRN affiliates beginning at 7:30 p.m. EDT.