Charlotte, N.C. (November 2, 2009) -- Robby Gordon and the Jim Beam team had a strong run going at Talladega Superspeedway and looked poised for a good finish. As the laps counted down, Gordon skillfully navigated his way around the first violent...
Charlotte, N.C. (November 2, 2009) -- Robby Gordon and the Jim Beam team had a strong run going at Talladega Superspeedway and looked poised for a good finish. As the laps counted down, Gordon skillfully navigated his way around the first violent wreck and emerged unscathed. However, as mayhem broke out on the front stretch on the final lap of the race, Gordon was left with nowhere to go and was a victim of the "big one." This incident resulted in a disappointing 32nd position for the Jim Beam team.
Due to a steady rain on Saturday morning, qualifying was cancelled and the field was set by owner's points, which meant that Gordon started the race in the 34th position. As soon as the green flag fell, three-wide racing broke out around the 2.66-mile tri-oval. Gordon immediately began his charge to the front and picked up 27 spots in just four laps to be scored in the 7th position by the time the first caution came out.
As things quieted down on the track, the No. 7 Jim Beam Camry was shuffled back for a single-file run. Following a green-flag pit stop, Gordon was scored a lap down, but he quickly raced his way back around the leader and a timely caution flag secured his position on track.
When the track went green, the field once again spread out into a single line and made laps around the tricky tri-oval. Finally around lap 90, things started to heat up on track as teams began making green flag pit stops. Gordon brought the No. 7 Jim Beam Camry down pit road on Lap 97 with several of the leaders. Crew chief Doug Richert made a call for two tires, which allowed Gordon to return to the track in the fourth position.
By Lap 109, Gordon had raced the No. 7 Jim Beam Camry into the top position to officially lead a lap. In the following laps, Gordon kept the Jim Beam Camry at the front of the field, where he continually exchanged the lead with a few of his competitors.
When the caution came out on Lap 137, the field used it as an opportunity to make their final pit stops of the day. The Jim Beam team called for a two-tire stop and packed the car full of fuel. Gordon and the team knew that they would need to conserve as much gasoline as possible, especially if the race would undergo a green-white-checkered finish.
Gordon restarted the race in the 3rd position and spent the closing laps trying to expertly navigate his way through the traffic to position himself in the front for the final laps.
Following the Lap 185 red flag period for the first "big one," Gordon was scored in the 15th position. However, as the caution period continued and cars started to run out of fuel, Gordon worked his way into the top 10. However, the Jim Beam team also became more concerned with their own fuel situation. Not willing to take any chances, Gordon was forced to come down pit road on Lap 187.
When the field took the green flag for the final time of the day on Lap 189, Gordon was scored in the 26th position. On the final lap, the "big one" happened, and Gordon was left with nowhere to go. The field circled around under caution to take the checkered flag leaving Gordon and the No. 7 Jim Beam team to finish in the 32nd position.
"The whole Jim Beam team is extremely disappointed with our finish today," said Gordon. "We had a car capable of finishing in the top five. We led laps, and just got shuffled to the back because of fuel mileage. Talladega is all about strategy; I've said it before and I'll say it again. Unfortunately, our strategy just didn't work out for us this week. We ended up in the back of the pack in the closing laps, and that's always dangerous to do at superspeedways. At least we had a car good enough to run in the front of the field. We'll go back to the shop and prepare another car that's just as good, and we'll be back better than ever in Daytona."
With only three weeks left in the 2009 season, the Sprint Cup Series moves on to Texas Motor Speedway for the Dickies 500 on Sunday, November 8.