Charlotte, N.C. (June 21, 2010) -- Expert experience navigating the turns of Infineon Raceway and methodically-planned pit strategy helped Robby Gordon and the No. 7 Monster Energy team race their way to a second-place finish on Sunday afternoon...
Charlotte, N.C. (June 21, 2010) -- Expert experience navigating the turns of Infineon Raceway and methodically-planned pit strategy helped Robby Gordon and the No. 7 Monster Energy team race their way to a second-place finish on Sunday afternoon in Sonoma, Calif. Gordon, a California native and renowned "road course ace," raced from 16th utilizing pit strategy to gain track position around the 1.99-mile road course.
Gordon came over the radio during the lap 11 caution period to tell the crew that the car was a little tight trying to navigate through turn seven, but otherwise running well. The 2003 Infineon race winner added, "It's no better than yesterday, but it's still quite a bit better than a lot of cars out here. We'll be ok."
The crew immediately began devising a plan to help the No. 7 Monster Energy Toyota Camry turn through the corners, while focusing specifically on turn seven. The team decided to stay on the track during that early caution and wait until they got inside their pit window hoping to make the 110-lap event a two-stop race. Gordon was scored in the 15th-position and steadily holding his position.
The team made their first stop under green on lap 32. Several of Gordon's competitors also stopped on that lap making for a busy pit road, but the No. 7 Monster Energy Toyota team made it through the pits without any incidents.
When the caution came out on lap 58, Gordon was sitting in the 10th position just 10 laps outside of his fuel window. The No. 7 Monster Energy Toyota team decided to come down pit road for four fresh tires, fuel, and another air pressure adjustment to help Gordon navigate the turns. The team returned to the track knowing that they would need to stop at least one last time to pack the car full of fuel.
Their opportunity to pit came just 10 laps later placing Gordon just inside his fuel window and leaving him to conserve fuel for much of the remainder of the race. The team packed the No. 7 Monster Energy Camry with as much fuel as it could hold and had Gordon stop just before the field returned to green to top off the tank.
Knowing that they were still close, Gordon continued to conserve fuel under green and during the caution laps to ensure that he could make it the distance.
The race heated up during the lap 103 caution period. Then leader, Marcos Ambrose failed to maintain a cautious pace--a rule that gained recognition at the 2007 NNS Montreal race during feud between Gordon and Ambrose for the win--and was forced to drop back to the seventh position. The mistake allowed Gordon and the No. 7 Monster Energy Toyota team to move into the second position for the final restart and race Jimmie Johnson for the win.
Gordon followed his line, hit every mark, and held off third-place Kevin Harvick to cross the finish line in the second position. The finish marks Gordon's best finish of the 2010 season and ties his second-best finish at Infineon Raceway. The No. 7 Monster Energy Toyota moved up three spots in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series owners points to the 32nd position.
"I'm very proud of the effort from the entire No. 7 Monster Energy Toyota team today, and I want to thank everyone on my team -- both here and back at the shop," commented Robby Gordon. "It was a great run for us, and our strategy worked well. At the end of the day, we got beat on tires--Jimmie had tires that were about 10 laps newer than ours--and that was the difference between winning and losing today. We needed a strong finish today and we did just that, so I'm happy with our race overall and am really looking forward to Watkins Glen now."
Next weekend the Sprint Cup Series travels to New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
-source: robby gordon motosports