Gordon Brings Home Another Top-20 Finish Joliet, III. (July 9, 2006) -- Sunday's USG Sheetrock 400 at the 1.5-mile oval outside the bustling metropolis of Chicago marked the mid point of the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup season. Gordon and the No. 7...
Gordon Brings Home Another Top-20 Finish
Joliet, III. (July 9, 2006) -- Sunday's USG Sheetrock 400 at the 1.5-mile oval outside the bustling metropolis of Chicago marked the mid point of the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup season. Gordon and the No. 7 Jim Beam Chevy started the second half of the season 28th in owner points and the USG Sheetrock 400 in the 30th position with hopes of another positive weekend to help thrust them closer to the top 20 in points.
With the same car that Gordon raced to a ninth-place finish in the Nextel Open back in May at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Gordon passed several cars within the first 10 laps of the 400-mile event to move to the 25th position.
Gordon would head to pit road in 24th on lap 57 for the first round of green flag stops with adjustments on deck to help loosen up the car. Only nine laps later the first caution of the race would fall sending the majority of the field down pit road. In an attempt to gain valuable track position, Gordon would forgo tires and fuel and remain on track. As the field came to the green on lap 72, Gordon was shown in the seventh position.
Running in the top 15 for the next 60 laps, Gordon headed to pit road again under green for two tires, fuel and an adjustment to rectify a loose race car he took the green in ninth place.
Racing his way to the front, Gordon brushed the wall out of turn 2 on lap 147. Hurting the aerodynamics on the right side of the car, Gordon did what he could to remain towards the front until the team would have a chance to repair the damage. Gordon would get his chance when the caution flag flew on lap 171 after the No. 44 Chevy of Terry Labonte engine's expired and laid down oil on the track. Hitting pit road on lap 172 to take four tires, fuel and repair the damage, the field came to the green with the No. 7 Jim Beam Chevy in 22nd place.
With the damage repaired, Gordon set out to regain his place in the top 10.
With five of the race's eight cautions coming in the last 50, Gordon had opportunities to get the car prepared for the last run at a solid finish. Restarting in the 23rd position on lap 266, Gordon was able to race his way into 19th position to end the day, passing four cars for position within the last two laps of the race.
"Today was a long day," said Gordon. "I'm pretty happy with where we were able to finish though. We set out to get at least a top 10, but a top-20 finish still helped us to gain a little ground in the points. We are focused right now on getting to the top 20 and runs like this weekend's can definitely help us to get there.
"Everyone did a great job this weekend. The car was very balanced and ran great until I hit the wall out of turn two. The guys were able to get it fixed on pit road and send me back out there still in a position to make a run.
Hopefully we can carry this momentum into Loudon. We've had good success there, winning back in 2003. A win would be great for our race team, our sponsors and the whole organization."
Gordon and the No. 7 Menards/MAPEI (ma-pay) Chevrolet will head to Loudon, New Hampshire for the USG Sheetrock 400. Catch coverage on Sunday, July 16 at 1:30 p.m. EDT on TNT. Radio coverage can be heard on national MRN affiliates beginning at 1:30 p.m. EDT.