Talladega II: Robby Gordon race report

Robby Gordon Finishes 16th at Talladega Superspeedway TALLADEGA, Ala. (Oct. 8, 2006) -- Coming into the final restrictor-plate race of the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup season, Robby Gordon had seen some success this year at both the famed Daytona ...

Robby Gordon Finishes 16th at Talladega Superspeedway

TALLADEGA, Ala. (Oct. 8, 2006) -- Coming into the final restrictor-plate race of the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup season, Robby Gordon had seen some success this year at both the famed Daytona International Speedway as well as the site of Sunday's UAW-Ford 500, Talladega Superspeedway. Posting top-15 finishes in all three restrictor-plate races so far this season, Gordon was set to break inside the top 5 after claiming the top spot in Friday's final practice session.

Starting 36th, Gordon made light of the competitors in front of him as he charged effortlessly through the draft over the first 10 laps. Cruising to a high of 4th before settling back to the end of the lead pack, Gordon knew he had the horsepower and the equipment to make a run back at the lead when the time came.

"We cruised up front early to see what we had for the end," said Gordon. "I was just along for the ride and the car did all the work and took us straight to the front. Once we knew we could drive through the pack, we hung back and rode for a while."

In an attempt to maintain with the draft, Gordon and others partnered up to make their green-flag stops on lap 31 for right-side tires only and fuel. Making his way back to the newly-paved racing surface, Gordon hooked up with the draft until it was time to dart to pit road again on lap 65. This time only left-side tires and fuel were on deck for the No. 7 Harrah's Chevy.

The first caution of the day was displayed on lap 72, giving the drivers and teams a chance to relax and top off their cars with fuel.

Pitting a few more times over the next 65 laps making sure that the 13-gallon cell was packed tight with fuel, Gordon made his way to 10th as the "Big One" started to collect cars behind him on lap 137. As 10 cars lay bruised and battered between turns 1 and 2, Gordon drove away untouched and still in position to make his charge.

Continuing on through what everyone thought was going to be the final caution of the day on lap 173, Gordon, now in the 12th position, was ready to charge forward. Ducking out of line, he was left alone with no help as the gap closed and Gordon was relegated to the end of the pack. Able to gain a few more positions before the checkered flag, Gordon finished the day in 16th.

"What a great car these guys gave me today," said Gordon. "I could drive this car to the front anytime I wanted, but chose to hang back and keep my nose clean for most of the day. It really was just an easy day out there. They did such an amazing job of re-surfacing (race track was re-paved following spring race) that you barely felt any bumps at all. I wish we could have made a better run there at the end, but everyone was happy riding along in line and nobody would go with me when I pulled out and made my run with a couple of laps to go. We'll take this finish and head home next weekend."

Gordon and the No. 7 Menards/MAPEI Chevy are coming home as the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series makes a run on their unofficial home track, Charlotte Motor Speedway. Catch coverage of the Saturday-night action on Oct. 14 at 7 p.m. EDT on NBC HD. Radio coverage can be heard on national PRN affiliates beginning at 6 p.m. EDT.

-credit: teamgordon.com

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Robby Gordon