Hailing from Strong, Maine, Tracy Gordon brought his Tic Tac-sponsored NASCAR Busch North Series team to Connecticut's Stafford Motor Speedway for Friday night's running of the Carquest 150. While success at Stafford has eluded the Gordon Racing team in recent years, a new setup provided by crew chief Steve May provided optimism for the #14 team.
Following an afternoon of practice, Gordon took to the track for time trails and posted a lap that would put him tenth on the field for the race.
"We've got a whole different setup that we've never tried before," Gordon said after qualifying, "so I'm holding my breath to see what she does in the race. Steve May is helping me today and while I've never really blistered the field here before, he knows this place pretty well so we'll try him out."
Gordon's race was a steady affair early, with his holding down tenth place through the first half. He moved up to eighth after some of the leaders pitted on lap 87, but gave up that track position to pit himself and have the Tic Tac crew change the right-side tires. Returning to the track in thirteenth place, Gordon resumed his race to the front.
Gordon was quickly back in the top ten, coming to eighth approaching lap 100 of 150, but contact with two lapped cars caused Gordon's Chevrolet to crash and stopped in turn one. After checking the car in the pits, his race was over with crash damage. He was classified 26th in the final rundown.
"We debated whether to pit or not and we decided to pit," Gordon said after the race. "We had a good stop and came out second of the guys who pitted, and we had a winning setup in it after that. The 36 car [Brad Boissonneault] got sideways and cleaned me out, and then after that Ted Christopher cleaned me out.
"We had such a good car that we were underneath people before they even realized we were there," Gordon continued. "I think Christopher realized it, but I think he just tried protecting his line even though he was three laps down. I was already in there before he even realized it because I was jumping off the turn good after taking on tires."
Gordon assessed the damage to his car.
"The car's not hurt too bad," he said. "It's time consuming because it ripped the body off. It probably needs a brake caliper and I need the center link and A-arms. I don't think it bent the snout. We'll have her back next Saturday. I was skeptical when I saw the setup sheets. If we would have had the scales here, we made so many changes that we probably got the wedge off. We probably got it jacked out of shape. If we put it on the scales we might have got it right and might not even had to pit. This was one of the better cars I've ever had here."
Next on Gordon Racing's Busch North schedule is a June 30th date with Waterford Speedbowl, also in Connecticut. Gordon finished ninth in this race last year and is looking forward to improving that result.