Robby Gordon and the No. 7 Harrah's Chevrolet started 26th at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Golden Coral 500. But trouble started early for Gordon when Casey Mears got sideways and collected as many as 10 cars, including Gordon. While the...
Robby Gordon and the No. 7 Harrah's Chevrolet started 26th at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Golden Coral 500. But trouble started early for Gordon when Casey Mears got sideways and collected as many as 10 cars, including Gordon. While the damage wasn't severe, the front end of the Monte Carlo was punched in and the good race car that the team thought would run at the front all day was immediately relegated to running in the middle of the pack. Although the red flag period that ensued allowed the team time to survey the damage and decide what repairs to make, it also left little time for the team to actually make those repairs once the yellow flag came out. Repairing the damaged nose on the first caution lap, and changing tires on the second caution lap, was all that could be accomplished as the green flag waved again with Gordon leaving pit road two laps down to the field before lap five.
Gordon would lose another lap to the leaders later in the race during a long green-flag run as he fought an ill-handling car, and would later lose two more laps when a vibration occurred due to a loose right front wheel, forcing him to make an unscheduled stop under green which eventually found him five laps down. The engine expired on lap 295, but the team and the driver found some positives from the day.
"We did have another engine problem, but I can't say that it was necessarily the same problem we saw in the last two races," Gordon said. "The oil and water temps ran high all day and it's entirely possible that we broke the motor because of the crash damage we got on the first lap.
"The engine ran strong all day, and for about 30 laps late in the race we ran at the same pace as the 48 (Jimmie Johnson). I ran in front of him for a long time and eventually let him pass me. I didn't want to hold him up knowing that he was racing for the win, and I thought I might have been making him aero-tight. But when I tucked back behind him I stayed with him for a long time. As strong as he has been lately, I know that we weren't far off at the end, and I also know that our engine was plenty strong.
"So, my hat's off to the guys at Menards for going back to work last week to get us a competitive motor, and it's a shame that we got caught up in that wreck on the first lap. I think we had a race set-up that would have been very fast, and I also think our engine would have been fine if we could have kept it cooler all day. With the way we tore up the front end, and the high temps, we may have been done from the start.