Tracy Gordon Qualifies For Showdown After Finishing Sixth At Lime Rock Lime Rock, Conn. (Sept. 30, 2006) - Tracy Gordon and the Woodworks Racing team achieved their season-long goals - finishing the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East ...
Tracy Gordon Qualifies For Showdown After Finishing Sixth At Lime Rock
Lime Rock, Conn. (Sept. 30, 2006) - Tracy Gordon and the Woodworks Racing team achieved their season-long goals - finishing the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series in the top fifteen in points and earning an invitation to the Toyota NASCAR All-Star Showdown - after posting a strong sixth place finish in Saturday's season finale at Lime Rock Park.
Gordon, a reluctant road racer, took the team's short track Ford Taurus, which team owner and crew chief Fred Skaff converted to a road course car in three days, to the track for practice and qualifying on Friday afternoon. He was 11th fastest in practice and time trialed 15th in qualifying despite suffering a minor spin on his warm-up lap.
"We were pretty decent in practice for someone who hasn't been on a road course in a few years," the Strong, Maine driver said. "We threw a setup at it that's pretty good so hopefully we'll come out of here with a solid finish to secure our spot in the Showdown. That's what we came here for."
Starting mid-pack, Gordon held his ground during the race's opening laps, and picked up a number of spots when some leaders pitted under caution on lap 16. Gordon made his only stop of the race on lap 32, also under caution, and he was set to run to the finish.
Restarting twelfth, Gordon only needed five laps to move up to seventh, then moved to sixth a few laps later. He gave up some positions as those who pitted later returned to the front of the field, but only as far back as eighth. He kept racing to the end, getting back to sixth after the final restart with just four laps left.
Sixth place was good enough for Gordon to pick up two spots in series points to fifteenth, the last spot to earn an automatic invitation to the season-ending All-Star Showdown in Irwindale, California in October.
"This team deserves to go because they're definitely a front-running team. We didn't decide to shoot for this goal until four races into the season, and Fred worked his tail off to make this possible, and just to make this race," Gordon said.
"I think we were the first non-road course-specific car. We got this car ready in three days, and it hadn't ever been on a road course before. Fred had it ready to go in three days and it went pretty decent. While this is just an old short-track car, we weren't that much slower than those guys in their dedicated road-course cars."
While Gordon was fast, he was also careful to preserve the team's chances at making the post-season Showdown.
"I was racing pretty hard, as hard as I could while staying completely under control," he said. "If I drove off the track and cost myself a top ten, I would have cost ourselves a chance to go to California. I was going as hard as I could without taking any chances."
The team will now turn its attention to preparing its other No. 33 Woodworks/Archer Corp. Ford for the Showdown, which takes place at the half-mile Irwindale Speedway outside Los Angeles on Saturday, October 21. That race, as well as the prior night's qualifying races, will be televised live on SpeedTV.