BNS: Stafford II: Tracy Gordon race summary

Tracy Gordon turns early misfortune into third place Stafford Speedway finish. Tracy Gordon, a NASCAR Busch North Series driver, declared that his Tic Tac-sponsored Gordon Racing team was 'back' after finishing second at Thompson Speedway two ...

Tracy Gordon turns early misfortune into third place Stafford Speedway finish.

Tracy Gordon, a NASCAR Busch North Series driver, declared that his Tic Tac-sponsored Gordon Racing team was 'back' after finishing second at Thompson Speedway two weeks ago. Friday night at Stafford Motor Speedway, Gordon continued his comeback from early season blues with a third place finish in the NASCAR 150.

Gordon's good night at the Connecticut track began with his turning a lap of 19.959 seconds (90.185 MPH) around the half-mile track, the fifth best time of twenty-six entrants. The top eight drivers redrew their starting positions and Gordon would start the race in seventh.

"I have a very good car," he said. "We turned a 19.60 in practice and I thought we had a chance at the pole. When I heard Martin Truex, Jr. turned a 19.70, I was grinning all over, and then I went out and turned a 19.95. There's something about this place, I can't get in a good time trial run. But we've got a real good race car. All we've got to do is stay out of trouble, have a good pit stop, come on strong at the end and hopefully pull off my first victory of the season."

Gordon did not stay out of trouble, though. He was running sixth when the first caution came out on lap 33. On the restart, a lapped car restarting near the front backed up the row Gordon was in, forcing him to lose positions. A few laps later, three cars tangled in front of Gordon and he tried to sneak by, but got caught up in the accident.

"There was a car sideways in front of us and I got on the brakes, everybody got on the brakes," he described. "I went to go down low and ended up clipping somebody and it ripped my right front fender off and hit the wheel too. It cut the right front tire so I had to pit and take on tires. I didn't want to, I wanted to save them for later in the race."

Armed with fresh right-side tires, Gordon embarked on the lap 48 restart running deep in the pack. HE moved into the top ten before lap 90, and once he got in there, he just kept picking off cars until he was eight with just twenty laps to go. Caution came out then, and Gordon was allowed to restart near the front as lapped cars were moved to behind the nine lead lap cars.

Taking the restart in sixth, Gordon picked up two quick positions when two cars ahead of him wrecked. When the race went back to green with eight laps to go, he was fourth but moved to third. He was passed for fourth but made that position back up when another car in front wrecked with just a few laps left. There was one more restart, but Gordon could not mount a challenge and settled for third.

"I think I had a winning car today, but getting in that wreck early got me out of pit sequence so I ended up having old tires at the end when everybody else in front of me had newer ones," Gordon said after the race. "That was the deciding factor in the win, because I had an awesome car. I was glad to come out of it with a third. I thought I was going to come out of it with a tenth or twelfth, but everybody got wrecking and crashing. But coming up through I just wore the tires out. We were three tenths faster than the leader when we were coming up through the field, and I ended up smoking the tires off it. If I could have come in and put some more tires on at the end, I would have had something for them, but I had already used all the tires we were allowed.

"We've got momentum on our side right now," Gordon continued. "We've had three awesome race cars in a row, so I think we're going to get the monkey off our back and we'll get a win. Maybe it'll be at Watkins Glen, or maybe at Adirondack."

The Gordon Racing crew will take a weekend off before returning to action at Watkins Glen International, the first of two road races on the Busch North schedule. The race will be held Saturday afternoon, one day before the NASCAR Winston Cup Series takes to the same track.

-gr-

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Martin Truex Jr.