Gordon holds on in Fontana Charlotte, N.C. (Sept. 2, 2008) - After a long night of bizarre handling conditions, the No. 7 Monster Energy team came home with a 40th place finish, two laps behind the leaders. The night started on a positive ...
Gordon holds on in Fontana
Charlotte, N.C. (Sept. 2, 2008) - After a long night of bizarre handling conditions, the No. 7 Monster Energy team came home with a 40th place finish, two laps behind the leaders. The night started on a positive note. After starting Sunday's race from 36th place, the No. 7 Monster Energy Charger was on the move early, passing six cars on the first lap around the two-mile Auto Club Speedway.
When an early caution flag flew on Lap 4, Gordon decided to come down pit road for new tires and a wedge adjustment. Despite how fast the car was running, the handling was loose around the track, so the crew tried to tighten it up during the first pit stop.
During the next run, Gordon was able to work his way back up to the 29th position, but the car was still a little too loose. Crew chief, Walter Giles called for a couple of changes to help alleviate the problems during a caution on Lap 19. Shortly after the stop, Gordon called in to the crew thanking them for the changes on the No. 7 Monster Energy Charger. For the first time all night, the handling was good on Gordon's car.
But as the run progressed and the sun started to set, Gordon radioed to the crew that he was too tight in the middle and too loose off the turns. The caution flag fell for the third time of the day on Lap 43. To combat the loose condition, Giles made an air pressure adjustment. Unfortunately, the change was not drastic enough, and as the run went on Gordon's car became harder to handle.
As the race progressed into the night, the team adjusted on the car during every pit stop, trying to perfect the handling of the No. 7 Monster Energy Dodge Charger. Like many other of the competitors, Gordon complained that the car continued to get loose despite the changes.
The caution flag flew for the seventh time on Lap 181 for Gordon spinning off turn four. The car cut loose as he exited the turn and spun down onto the inside grass. The splitter needed to be cleaned off and repaired, but luckily, the damage was minimal. Gordon came down pit road during the caution for a few more adjustments.
Gordon radioed the crew telling them that the car was now "as tight as it was loose earlier in the race," which was expected with the splitter damage. They tried many adjustments to help, but nothing seemed to work. Gordon finished the race in the 40th position, two laps behind the leaders.
"Our car was just off tonight," said Gordon. "The handling was very confusing. Like others, we expected the track to tighten as we raced into the night, but the track did the complete opposite, just like Michigan. At times, it was as if someone flipped a switch and just like that, it went from being extremely loose to too tight. We're all looking forward to the Richmond race next week. That track is where our team scored our first Nationwide Series victory, so we're always excited to go back there. Hopefully we can finally turn our luck around and come home with a solid finish."