Late-Race Letdown Costs Tracy Gordon Top-Five, Woodworks Racing Salvages Top-Ten Dover, Del. (Sept. 22, 2006) - Woodworks Racing's late-season surge took a minor detour in the closing laps of Friday's Sunoco 150, the last oval track race on the...
Late-Race Letdown Costs Tracy Gordon Top-Five, Woodworks Racing Salvages Top-Ten
Dover, Del. (Sept. 22, 2006) - Woodworks Racing's late-season surge took a minor detour in the closing laps of Friday's Sunoco 150, the last oval track race on the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series schedule. Strong, Maine's Tracy Gordon took the No. 33 Woodworks/Archer Corporation Ford Taurus to fifth place in the closing laps of the race at Dover International Speedway, but vapor lock suffered under a late red flag period meant the car would not restart as the field pulled away. By the time the car was revived, Gordon had been lapped and wound up finishing tenth.
And while a tenth-place finish with an undamaged car is a good day at the track, after running fifth with two laps to go in the race's scheduled distance, tenth was tough to take.
The Dover race weekend began with practice on Thursday and the Fred Skaff-led team found trouble early on as the car was bottoming out going into the corners. Many different fixes were tried but the problem still surfaced in qualifying. Gordon took the seventh starting spot despite that.
"They've been trying to figure out how to stop it from dragging since we got here," Gordon said. "I think if we raised the motor up or something to get it to stop dragging we would have been better, but they did whatever they could do here to get it to stop dragging and hopefully it won't hurt the performance that bad. We qualified all right, with as many changes as they had to do."
Gordon's race was just a few laps old before he ran into trouble, banging doors with Steve Park going into the first turn eleven laps in. He recovered, though he lost a number of positions after the contact. A pit stop for a chassis adjustment came under caution on lap 24 and then he made a pair of stops under a lap 66 caution to change four tires and take on more adjustments. But he was forced to take the next restart at the tail of the field due to a pit road speed penalty.
Gordon ran tenth with fifty laps to go, but was all the way up to sixth with less than ten to go. A late wreck by one of the leading cars moved him up to fifth, but the race was also extended beyond 150 laps because of track cleanup and the rule requiring the race to end with a green-white-checker finish.
A ten-minute red flag period was needed to clean the track, and when the red was lifted and the field drove away, Gordon's car was unable to restart. He was pushed to the end of pit road where the Woodworks Racing crew met him with a gas can and starting fluid, but while they were trying to get the car going the field drove by under yellow and put him a lap down. The car started, Gordon joined the field at the tail, and ran the final two green-flag laps without incident to finish tenth.
"We weren't real great all day, but we ended up with a top-five car," he said after the race. "Then we were all stopped on the banking and maybe all the gas drained away from the pickup or something and the car wouldn't start up again. If we didn't have to stop, we'd have been all set. At least we got tenth, it could have been a lot worse. I hate it for the crew, they worked real hard the whole time we were here.
"All in all, with all the work we wound up doing this whole weekend, we came out of here in good shape," Gordon continued.
The team's sixth top-ten in seven races moved it up one more spot in the points standings to seventeenth, just 43 points shy of fifteenth. Had Gordon run all the races with the same level of performance he's posted in the seven he has run, he'd be fifth in points.