Talladega II: Robby Gordon race report

Gordon Finishes 8th in his 300th Sprint Cup Series Race Charlotte, N.C. (October 6, 2008) -- Gordon and his No. 7 Mapei / Menards Dodge Charger navigated to a 8th place finish in Sunday's last restrictor-plate race of the year and his ...

Gordon Finishes 8th in his 300th Sprint Cup Series Race

Charlotte, N.C. (October 6, 2008) -- Gordon and his No. 7 Mapei / Menards Dodge Charger navigated to a 8th place finish in Sunday's last restrictor-plate race of the year and his 300th-career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Gordon continued his superspeedway streak -- finishing second in the 2008 restrictor-plate points and fielding of the most competitive plate programs in the Sprint Cup Series.

In the opening laps of the race, Gordon proved just how competitive his car was. By Lap 2, Gordon had worked his way up to the 24th position, a move to test the handling and speed of his Dodge Charger in the draft. Pleased with his equipment, Gordon called in to the crew saying, "It's fast, fast, fast!"

After the test run, Gordon decided to drop to the back of the pack, a strategy aimed at avoiding any early accidents. Gordon settled in comfortably at the tail end of the lead pack, knowing that the "big one" was only laps away.

The first "big one" of the day happened on Lap 68, forcing NASCAR to put out the red flag to clean up the debris. Even though Gordon escaped without a scratch, the crew decided to pit for four tires and fuel. The crew beat a few cars off pit road, which left Gordon with a buffer to keep running in the pack.

As the race progressed and the field was getting ready to make green-flag pit stops, the caution came out on Lap 138. The No. 7 Mapei / Menards team called Gordon to pit road with the leaders for four tires, fuel, and an adjustment. The team was just outside their fuel window, so Gordon came back down pit road on the next two cautions laps to top off the fuel tank in case the race went green until the finish.

Gordon's Charger was still a little tight, so when the caution came out again on Lap 164 Gordon came back down pit road for additional adjustments. When the race restarted, Gordon knew that they were getting close to "go time," but wanted to "hang out in the back for just a little longer."

The next "big one" happened on Lap 174 when several Chase contenders collided in Turn 3. Gordon was able to make it through the carnage without a scratch. The event was red-flagged again, and the No. 7 Mapei / Menards team was able to discuss their strategy for the closing laps of the event. Gordon decided that he wanted four fresh tires and a windshield tear-off. Gordon, pleased with how the day was progressing, told the crew "See, I told you we'd be in this!"

Gordon navigated his way through the pack, changing lines throughout the closing laps to move into the quicker line. When the checkered flag fell on the event, Gordon finished in the 8th position.

"We did exactly what we needed to do today," said Gordon. "We made up a lot of points on everyone that we needed to gain on. The guys did a great job in the pits, and we were able to bring home another great superspeedway finish. Before this weekend, we were third in the restrictor-plate points for the year. I think that this should put us around second overall. This is a good statistic for our team. I am really happy with the plate program that our team has put together."

"We had a very good test in Charlotte a few weeks ago, so we're all looking forward to this weekend's race. I'm confident that we'll be able to bring home another good finish," said Gordon.

-credit: rgm

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Robby Gordon