BNS: Dover: Tracy Gordon race notes

Tracy Gordon fifth at Dover International Speedway. Tracy Gordon, driver of the Tic Tac Chevrolet on the NASCAR Busch North Series, backed up his win the previous week at New Hampshire International Speedway with a fifth place finish in Friday...

Tracy Gordon fifth at Dover International Speedway.

Tracy Gordon, driver of the Tic Tac Chevrolet on the NASCAR Busch North Series, backed up his win the previous week at New Hampshire International Speedway with a fifth place finish in Friday afternoon's MBNA All American Heroes 150 held at the Dover International Speedway. Gordon's sixth top-five finish of the 2002 season allowed him to maintain his fifth place standing in the season points.

After putting up the eighth fastest practice lap during Thursday's morning practice session, Gordon slipped down the speed charts in time trials and qualified sixteenth for the race.

"We were good right off the track," he said. "I thought we were going to have a good qualifying run, but we wound up sixteenth. I think we're a little better than that; I know we're better than that. We're not the fastest car here, but we're better than sixteenth. We should be in the top ten. We made a few spring changes and we'll see if it goes in nice and gets up off the turn."

Adversity struck the Gordon Racing team when the hood flew open at speed during the final practice and fast repair work was needed to get it to close properly. The repairs were made and Gordon returned to the track before the end of the practice session. By the time Friday morning dawned, the car was ready to race.

Gordon ran either fourteenth or fifteenth through the race's first third, but got his big break when caution came out on lap 64. He came to the pits with all the other lead lap cars and changed right-side tires. Other cars made second stops for left-side tires, but Gordon stayed on the track and moved all the way up to fifth on the lap 70 restart. Moving to fourth shortly after the restart, he went underneath Dennis Demers in turn one of lap 87 to take third, and six laps later was around Brian Hoar to move to second place. But those who took on four fresh tires were coming, and Gordon was passed by the eventual top three finishers and put back to fifth. He did not fall back any further, though, and fifth was his finishing position after 150 laps.

"I had a real good car," he said after the race. "We started off a little loose, but after the pit stop, the car was really good after that. I got a little loose getting in after, I just couldn't hold it down on the bottom after that. To come out of here with a top five here is great, and to come out of here in one piece was great. We started out with things looking like it was going to be a bad weekend. We qualified badly and then we lost the hood on the car in the last practice. But we didn't do too badly under the circumstances.

"The two tire stop was a gamble that paid off," Gordon continued. "We would have had a faster car if we took on four tires, but we would have had bad track position if we did that. We had to make up track position because I qualified bad. I knew track position is important on this track, and it's hard to pass here and these cars are so equal."

Following two solid runs on the two biggest ovals that the Busch North Series runs on, Gordon will try to keep rolling as the series heads to the half-mile Stafford Motor Speedway in Connecticut. In two previous races held at the track, Gordon has finishes of ninth and third.

-www.tracygordon.com-

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