Charlotte, N.C. (July 13, 2009) -- Heading into Saturday's Lifelock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, the No. 7 Red Stag by Jim Beam / Kid Rock team knew that the 400-mile event would have its challenges. Changing track conditions provided an extra...
Charlotte, N.C. (July 13, 2009) -- Heading into Saturday's Lifelock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, the No. 7 Red Stag by Jim Beam / Kid Rock team knew that the 400-mile event would have its challenges. Changing track conditions provided an extra challenge to the 1.5-mile oval as the field raced into the night.
Gordon started the event in the 41st position. Soon after the green flag fell, he was able to race his way into the top-30 by the first round of pit stops during the first caution period on Lap 39 for debris. The crew made their first round of adjustments to help Gordon's loose Camry.
As the night when on and the track conditions continued to change, the team continuously made changes to help the handling of the No. 7. Despite handling issues, Gordon was able to make it up to the 14th position before pitting under green on lap 95. The crew made another series of adjustments to help the handling through the turns of the 1.5-mile oval. By Lap 125, the No. 7 Red Stag by Jim Beam / Kid Rock Camry was getting better. Gordon could easily navigate through the entry of the turns, and was just experiencing a tight condition through the middle and exit of the turns.
Just laps after the team's stop on Lap 133, Gordon called into the crew to report a major problem. The No. 7 Red Stag by Jim Beam / Kid Rock Camry was extremely tight and very difficult to turn. Gordon was able to hold on to the Camry until a green flag stop on Lap 189. As soon as he returned to the track, Gordon knew that his Camry had a mechanical failure, forcing the team to go to the garage to diagnose and repair the problem.
Within thirty laps, the Red Stag by Jim Beam / Kid Rock crew had the car repaired and Gordon back on track. The crew discovered that the problem was a broken locker in the rear gear, which helped explain the car's ill handling after the first pit stop. The gear failure caused Gordon to finish in the 34th position.
"Chicagoland is always a very tough track," said Gordon. "It's challenging because it's such a unique intermediate course. We race into the night, so the changing track conditions add a whole different element to our set-up and race strategy. It's unfortunate that we had a gear failure, but it explains why the car was so tight in the race and why no adjustments helped fix the handling. The crew did a great job making fast repairs and getting us back on the track."
Next week, drivers and crews in the Sprint Cup Series will enjoy a rare off-weekend. The action returns to the track in Indianapolis for the Allstate 400 at The Brickyard on Sunday, July 26. Live television coverage of the event begins at 1:00 p.m. EST on ESPN. IMS and Sirius Satellite Radio will provide radio coverage of the race. Qualifying will be broadcast on SPEED beginning at 10:00 a.m. EST on Saturday, July 25.