After a frustrating morning in practice which saw Robby Gordon run only as fast as 24.017 seconds, Gordon pulled up his boot straps and clicked off a lap almost a half-second faster, 23.569 seconds, in Bud Pole qualifying for the Dura-Lube/K-Mart...
After a frustrating morning in practice which saw Robby Gordon run only as fast as 24.017 seconds, Gordon pulled up his boot straps and clicked off a lap almost a half-second faster, 23.569 seconds, in Bud Pole qualifying for the Dura-Lube/K-Mart 400 at North Carolina Motor Speedway. His time placed the Duracell Ultra/Turtle Wax/Woody Woodpecker Ford Taurus 25th and safely in the field for Sunday's race.
Gordon's troubles in the morning were attributed to "Gordon" himself, who was having a hard time getting used to the type of driving Rockingham's high-banked, one-mile oval requires. Four months removed from open-wheel racing, Gordon was fighting tendencies to brake and turn in the corners. While Champ Cars allow this technique, a Winston Cup car does not. Gordon found out on his first lap of the morning which almost sent him into the wall. The reminder was short-lived, however, as Gordon began to concentrate more on lifting and coasting through the corner rather than braking on entry.
Team Gordon's ability to qualify on pole day now opens up Saturday for the team to focus on race setups.
Quotes: ROBBY GORDON "This morning was rough. We couldn't test here and it's been a long time since I've raced at a place like Rockingham. My first lap out I almost wrote of our primary car in turn one. I went in too hot, tried to ride it through up high and the car almost got away from me. You just can't drive a Cup car like I'm used to driving a Champ Car. That was the biggest adjustment for us today. I think the car was there early today, we just needed the driver to show up. That first run I used up the tires not knowing my way around yet and in the second session, I simply didn't have enough time to figure it out before the tires went off. Most guys get one maybe two flying laps for their best speed, then you have no chance to improve - this place eats tires like crazy.
"Before qualifying I sat in the transporter and stared at the time sheet, nervous. We needed half a second or Saturday was going to be ugly. One lap, that's it. No time to heat up tires, either. You cut it loose off pit lane and before you know it it's over. When I came into one, I got loose again because I tapped the brakes on entry. The car started to move up and I just gassed it until it came back to me. The rest of the lap went pretty well, I was surprised at the time. Actually, I was very surprised! We got the half a second, and most importantly we got a bye for tomorrow. That's big for us, now we can work on racing."