Charlotte, N.C. (June 15, 2009) -- The No. 7 team had a strong weekend at Michigan International Speedway. After a solid qualifying run on Friday and strong practice sessions all weekend, the Red Stag by Jim Beam / Kid Rock Camry contended in the...
Charlotte, N.C. (June 15, 2009) -- The No. 7 team had a strong weekend at Michigan International Speedway. After a solid qualifying run on Friday and strong practice sessions all weekend, the Red Stag by Jim Beam / Kid Rock Camry contended in the top 20 all day before bringing home a 17th-place finish.
Shortly after the green flag, Gordon called in to his crew to report an extremely loose handling condition. Differing track conditions from earlier practice sessions had caused changes to the track, leaving it with much less grip than it had prior in the weekend. The driver of the No. 7 Red Stag by Jim Beam / Kid Rock Camry gave it all that he had to keep the race car off the wall and intact during the opening laps. Even though he was "wrecking loose," Gordon was able to hold on to the car and continued pacing himself with the leaders.
Gordon brought his car down pit road on Lap 37 for the first green flag stop of the race. The crew serviced the No. 7 Red Stag by Jim Beam / Kid Rock Camry with four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. When pit stops cycled through, Gordon was scored in the 18th position and his car was handling much better.
As the afternoon went on, continued track changes resulted in additional handling difficulties. However, with only three cautions during the 200-lap event, Gordon dealt with the changing conditions. With each stop, the No. 7 Red Stag by Jim Beam / Kid Rock crew made adjustments to improve their Camry. In spite of changing tracked conditions affecting the car's handling, Gordon raced around the top 20 and maintained a lead lap position for entire day at the two-mile, D-shaped oval track.
When the caution came out on Lap 150, all of the leaders came down pit road for service. The crew decided to go with a different strategy than many of the front-runners, to ensure that they would not have to make another stop before the finish. The crew came down pit road on Lap 153 with all of the other lead lap cars. However, when the field was given the signal for one-to-go under caution on Lap 155, Gordon headed back down pit road to top off his fuel tank. As some of the front runners had their fuel tanks run dry at the end of the race, Gordon was able to continue on track. By the time the checkered flag fell, Gordon was scored in the 17th position.
"I'm very proud of our efforts this weekend in Michigan," said Gordon. "We've done a lot of work to improve our intermediate program, and it's nice to see our efforts start to pay off. We unloaded with a strong car and had a great qualifying run -- that's really a key to success with these cars. We finished 3rd at Lowe's a few weeks ago and had a strong run today. Hopefully, we can build upon that momentum going into this weekend's road course in Sonoma. We have put a lot of effort into our road course program, and I just hope that we'll be able to bring home RGM's first Cup victory."
The Sprint Cup Series is headed to Infineon Raceway for the first road course race of the season.