BNS: Stafford: Tracy Gordon race report

Tracy Gordon takes fourth top ten of 2002 with ninth place Stafford Speedway finish. Tic Tac Chevrolet driver Tracy Gordon now has four top ten finishes in six NASCAR Busch North Series races after finishing ninth at Stafford Motor Speedway on...

Tracy Gordon takes fourth top ten of 2002 with ninth place Stafford Speedway finish.

Tic Tac Chevrolet driver Tracy Gordon now has four top ten finishes in six NASCAR Busch North Series races after finishing ninth at Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night. After starting the season with two straight DNFs, Gordon has now climbed back to within striking distance of the top ten in points, currently standing twelfth.

Gordon's evening at the Connecticut half-mile oval started out with an eleventh place run in qualifying. This came after a productive practice session where he reported that every change made to the car resulted in the car getting better.

"Eleventh is all right," he said after qualifying. "I think this car was better than I was for qualifying. I don't qualify very well here but I think we have a pretty good car for the race. We freed it up all day, and it was free for qualifying, so I think it will be good for the race, because this place always tightens up pretty bad."

Gordon moved into the top ten thirty laps into the race, and as a long stretch of green-flag racing took the race past its halfway point, Gordon's good-handling race car proved itself as he moved up to eighth and joined a three-car battle to race for sixth. A lap 91 caution allowed the leaders to pit and Gordon took advantage, putting on two tires and returning to the race in eighth place. He ran as high as seventh in the race's closing laps before falling to ninth, where he finished.

"We had a better car than that, but we burned the right rear tire off trying to get by the 86 car [Dennis Demers]," he said. "He kept chopping me. After the pit stop we had a good car, but we just burned the right rear off trying to get by the 86 car. I didn't have anything at the end after I got around it. I don't know what I could have done. I got another top ten, I think that's three in a row. We have to recover from those DNFs we had at the start of the season."

Gordon was asked if the possibility of staying on the track while other leaders pitted, picking up track position. Dale Shaw tried this strategy and led the race, but fell to sixth at the finish.

"Dale didn't pit and he went backwards, and after that he didn't have anything for the leaders," Gordon said. "The only way I was going to win was if I pitted, but it turns out I didn't have enough to win anyway. I wouldn't have won on old tires, because there were too many cars that came in and took on tires."

Gordon now looks forward to the next NASCAR Busch North Series race, which will be held next Saturday night at Holland Speedway in Holland, New York. Gordon won at Holland in the 2000 season, and hopes to add another win to his career total of eleven. For more information on the Gordon Racing team, visit its website at www.tracygordon.com.

-tgr/ajc-

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