Charlotte, N.C. (April 27, 2009) -- With 20 laps remaining in Sunday's Aaron's 499, Robby Gordon and No. 7 Jim Beam team began their charge to the front of the field and seemed to be headed for another strong finish at Talladega Superspeedway.
Charlotte, N.C. (April 27, 2009) -- With 20 laps remaining in Sunday's Aaron's 499, Robby Gordon and No. 7 Jim Beam team began their charge to the front of the field and seemed to be headed for another strong finish at Talladega Superspeedway. Unfortunately, Gordon was caught up in a multi-car pileup on the backstretch on Lap 180, which ended the day early for the No. 7 team.
The Robby Gordon Motorsports team started off the weekend strong and paced the first practice. Knowing they had a great car, the Jim Beam team decided to utilize their normal superspeedway strategy in Sunday's race. Gordon dropped to the back of the field during the early laps to avoid any accidents up front.
The strategy served the Jim Beam team well as Gordon was able to avoid a 16-car pileup on Lap 7. Smoke filled the track making it hard to navigate around the wreckage, but Gordon pulled his Jim Beam Camry through without any damage. After emerging from the mayhem, he came over the radio to exclaim "We made it! Wow!"
Despite nearly half the field being out of contention, Gordon knew it was only a matter of time until another big wreck occurred. Just after the restart, Gordon ran his Camry up into the top 15 to evaluate its abilities, but quickly dropped to the back of the pack again to avoid any impending incidents. The crew decided early that they would remain in the back until 20 laps remained in the race, and then they would make their charge to the front.
Gordon brought his Jim Beam Camry down pit road for its final stop during the Lap 172 caution period. The team decided to only take two tires to ensure that they would be in the middle of the pack for the restart. Then, just as planned, Gordon began his charge to the front of the field.
The Jim Beam Camry made its way into the top-fifteen and was just about to enter the top-ten, when Hamlin and Montoya made contact in the outside grooves of the racetrack. Hamlin then came down the track and made contact with Gordon's car in the middle of the backstretch. The Jim Beam Camry was sent head first into the inside retaining wall with hard impact.
The car sustained major damage from the impact, leaving Gordon to climb out the car and head for the infield car center. Luckily, the driver was unhurt from the incident, but the car was too heavily damaged to return to competition. Gordon finished the event in the 29th position.
"We had a great car today, and we were definitely capable of having a solid finish," Gordon said. "We stuck to our race strategy. We rode around in the back to avoid the early wrecks and decided to go racing at the end when it matters. At the end of the day, it's Talladega and restrictor-plate racing. We were all going for it, so accidents like that are bound to happen here. It is just unfortunate that we got caught up in it; we really needed a good finish to help rebuild our momentum."