Loudon II: Robby Gordon race report

Gordon Back in the Top 35 after Finishing 26th at Loudon Charlotte, N.C. (Sept. 15, 2008) - Robby Gordon and the No. 7 Jim Beam / Operation Homefront team fought their way back into the top 35 in owner's points with a 26th place finish in...

Gordon Back in the Top 35 after Finishing 26th at Loudon

Charlotte, N.C. (Sept. 15, 2008) - Robby Gordon and the No. 7 Jim Beam / Operation Homefront team fought their way back into the top 35 in owner's points with a 26th place finish in Loudon, N.H. on Sunday afternoon.

Gordon started the race in the 38th position after qualifying for the Sylvania 300 was rained out on Friday afternoon. In preparation for the scheduled competition caution on Lap 35, Gordon radioed his crew to report that the car's handling was "free in and tight in the middle." Not only was Gordon struggling with his car, but he was also struggling to pass the competition on the flat 1-mile oval.

When the competition caution came out on Lap 35, the crew chief decided to make a strategy call and gain Gordon valuable track position. The team only changed right side tires on the No. 7 Jim Beam / Operation Homefront Charger and made a wedge and trackbar adjustment. The quick stop allowed the team to pick up ten spots on pit road and sent Gordon back out to restart in the 26th position. Gordon continued the race running in the mid- twenties. The handling was a lot better on that run, but Gordon still needed a loose condition on the entry to the turns fixed.

When the caution flag came out on Lap 83, the No. 7 crew decided to make an air pressure and wedge adjustment. The race went green again on Lap 88, and Gordon restarted in the 28th position. The changes from the last pit stop did not tighten up the entry to the corner, but instead caused the car to develop a tight condition through the center of the turn. Gordon dropped back to the 34th position during the run and went a lap down to the leaders on Lap 123.

Gordon hung onto the No. 7 Jim Beam / Operation Homefront Charger as best he could until he was called to pit road for a green flag stop on Lap 158. The crew gave Gordon four fresh tires, fuel and a trackbar adjustment. On the following run, the handling on the No. 7 was much better, but continued to be a little tight through the center.

The caution flag came out for the third time of the day on Lap 214 when NASCAR noticed debris on the front straightaway. The crew made additional adjustments to loosen Gordon's racecar and sent him back out on the track in the 29th position. The field went back to green for one lap until Joe Nemechek slammed the wall on the front stretch, bringing out another caution. Safety crews worked to clean up the mess, and NASCAR restarted the race on Lap 228.

Again, the field raced for one lap before the caution flag flew; this time for a five-car pileup. NASCAR red-flagged the race on Lap 230 to clean up the track, which allowed the No. 7 team to discuss their strategy for the remainder of the race. The team had finally entered their fuel mileage window, which allowed them to make it to the end of the race if they decided to pit. Gordon came to pit road for three seconds of fuel incase the race went green until the end. The team did not make any adjustments and sent Gordon back to the track in the 28th position.

After the stop, Gordon's car continued to lack the side bite it needed for fast laps. To add more pressure to the situation, Gordon was running behind the competitors that he needed to beat to secure a spot in the top 35. The caution flag came out again on lap 265 for a wreck involving AJ Allmendinger. Gordon hit pit road to get fresh tires with an air pressure adjustment and a wedge adjustment.

The caution flag flew two more times during the 300-mile event. Despite slight handling woes, Gordon was able to stay on the track and maintain his track position. The No. 7 Jim Beam / Operation Homefront Charger took the checked flag in the 26th position, one lap behind the leaders and back inside the top 35.

"We had a great run today," said Gordon. ""This level of competition is very tough. We did what we needed to do today - we raced smart, made the right decisions, and got the Robby Gordon Motorsports team back into the top-35 in points. We are going to need to continue to get finishes like this if we want to stay in the top 35 for the rest of the season. Hopefully, today was the turning point, and we can continue to get solid finishes for the last nine races this season."

Next week the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series travels to the Monster Mile in Dover, DE.

-credit: rgm

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Robby Gordon , Jim Beam
Teams Robby Gordon Motorsports