BNS: USA-Lee: Tracy Gordon race report

Tire, mechanical problems stop Tracy Gordon's 2002 season opener. One year ago, Tracy Gordon dominated the NASCAR Busch North Series' first race of the year, held at Lee USA Speedway in New Hampshire. Hoping for a repeat of that performance, ...

Tire, mechanical problems stop Tracy Gordon's 2002 season opener.

One year ago, Tracy Gordon dominated the NASCAR Busch North Series' first race of the year, held at Lee USA Speedway in New Hampshire. Hoping for a repeat of that performance, Gordon had a strong qualifying performance and a competitive run in the first two-thirds of the race washed away by a flat tire and a jammed lugnut, forcing the Tic Tac Chevrolet to retire from the event in 26th position.

Aiming to win his second consecutive Lee USA pole in qualifying, Gordon came up just short of the mark, taking the eighth best qualifying time of 15.475 seconds (87.237 MPH) on the one-third mile oval. The top eight qualifiers redrew their starting positions and Gordon kept his eighth place.

Gordon ran as high as sixth in the race's early going, and settled into the eighth place through the halfway mark. Joining the majority of the field on pit road under caution on lap 90, Gordon took on two tires and was back in the race in tenth.

He quickly moved up to seventh when the race went back to green but, with forty laps to go, Gordon's left front tire went flat and he was forced to pit to change it. In the pits, one of the lugnuts got hung up on the lug and it could not be repaired before the end of the race and Gordon's race was over after 125 laps, his finishing position a disappointing 26th.

"We were just a little loose to start off with and we came in for a pit stop," Gordon said about his lap 90 stop. "The car was really strong right after the pit stop. We needed to take some wedge on, and when we took some wedge on the car was just awesome. Then we got a flat left front tire, and changing that, the lugnut stuck up on it. It jammed the lugnut and stove the lugnut all up. Without that, I know we would have had a top three out of that deal. The flat tire cost us dearly. It's not a very good start to the season, but we'll get them back."

Gordon has already put the Lee race out of his mind and was thinking down the road to the next three races.

"Loudon's not one of my better tracks, and Nazareth isn't either, but then we go to Seekonk and we go good there," he said. "We have another car for Loudon and we'll run this one at Nazareth, and maybe we'll shake that monkey off our back. We had a bad finish to last year, and we have a bad start to this year, so things are bound to come around. I was optimistic because we were running so good after we made that pit stop, but we'll get them next race."

- www.tracygordon.com.

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