Charlotte, N.C. (November 9, 2009) -- When the green flag dropped to commence yesterday's 334-lap event, Robby Gordon began moving the No. 7 MAPEI Camry to the front of the field. Within the first twenty laps, Gordon worked his way from his ...
Charlotte, N.C. (November 9, 2009) -- When the green flag dropped to commence yesterday's 334-lap event, Robby Gordon began moving the No. 7 MAPEI Camry to the front of the field. Within the first twenty laps, Gordon worked his way from his 29th-place starting position into the top 20. By Lap 42, the No. 7 MAPEI Camry broke into the top 15, and Gordon continued his charge to the front.
Toward the end of the first run, Gordon called into his crew to express his concern about his right side tires. The crew called Gordon down pit road on Lap 54. After diagnosis of his tires, it was noted that the cord was slightly exposed on both the right front and rear tire.
As the race progressed, Gordon discovered that the handling condition on his Camry began to get continually tighter throughout the center of the turns. When the caution fell on Lap 86 for an on-track incident, the No. 7 team decided to pit for four tires and fuel. Unfortunately, the No. 7 MAPEI / Menards Camry got boxed in their pit stall after a chain reaction on pit road caused by the caution car, and Gordon lost nearly ten positions.
As soon as the race restarted, Gordon immediately reported that he had a vibration that shook the car violently throughout the turns. Gordon was able to hold on to the MAPEI Camry until the team's next stop under green flag conditions. However, he was not able to prevent the team from losing a lap to the leader.
The long green flag runs and dominance of the leaders left a lot of competitors at least one lap down, which meant increased competition for Gordon while racing for the Lucky Dog. The team continued to use every opportunity possible to perfect the handling on their car and position themselves to regain their lost lap.
The team came down pit road on Lap 266 as the entire field cycled through green flag pit stops. Gordon conserved fuel and the crew hoped for a caution period that would enable them to make it to the finish. As the end approached, they were more than ten laps short like several of competitors and had no choice but to come back down pit road before the finish.
Before coming down pit road, Gordon was scored in the 23rd position. However, several of his competitors were able to continue to the finish without stopping for fuel leaving Gordon unable to make up valuable track position. When the checkered flag fell, Gordon was scored in the 27th position.
"We had a really great car to begin the race," said Gordon. "By final practice, we had worked our way into the 7th position, and it looked like we were going to have a really great run this weekend. We took off immediately after the green and started moving our way up through the field. Unfortunately, things just didn't go our way. Once the car developed the tire chatter and we went a lap down. The long green flag runs stretched the field and left many cars one lap down. We did all that we could to rebound for a good finish, but strategy just did not play out as we had hoped. Even though we didn't get the finish in which we had hoped, we had the opportunity to run strong at the start of the race and compete in the top 15."