Brush With Dover Wall Slows Tracy Gordon, Doesn't Stop Woodworks Racing Team (Dover, Del. - Sept. 23, 2005) - A fast Ford and pit strategy got Tracy Gordon to overcome a thirteenth place qualifying effort and on the outside of the front row ...
Brush With Dover Wall Slows Tracy Gordon, Doesn't Stop Woodworks Racing Team
(Dover, Del. - Sept. 23, 2005) - A fast Ford and pit strategy got Tracy Gordon to overcome a thirteenth place qualifying effort and on the outside of the front row two-thirds of the way through the MBNA RacePoints 150, the annual NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series race at Dover International Speedway. But a brush with the fourth turn wall left the Woodworks Racing/Archer Corp. Ford bruised and sent to the garage for repairs. Gordon returned to the race to finish it in twentieth position.
Gordon, fresh off a seventh place finish the previous race at New Hampshire International Speedway, came to Dover with a different setup than he's accustomed to running. It took some adjusting and getting used to, as he hadn't cracked the top ten in practice or qualifying. He started the race thirteenth.
"We've got a few front end issues, the front end's skating on me a little bit, but we think we know what the problem is," he said. "They're going to fix it and we should be OK. We got thirteenth with the front end skating which is respectable, so we should have a good car when we get the front end straightened out. It's a soft spring-big bar suspension package, and I've never run something like that on a big high-banked track like this before. It's what everybody's running, but I'm making changes based on what I know and they take the opposite effect of what you'd expect them to $do. It's just something for me to get used to and learn what changes do what."
The changes made to the Woodworks Ford certainly were to Gordon's liking, as he improved from thirteenth to run fourth by the race's halfway point. Caution came out on lap 81, and it was decision time: come in twice for four tires, or just once for two tires. Two tires was the call, and Gordon came out of the pits in second place. The field was lined up double-file for the restart, but then the leader was called in for a pit speed violation. But instead of Gordon inheriting the lead, the third-place car moved up to the inside pole.
"The 99 and the 81 both have fluorescent numbers, so I didn't realize it was a different car that lined up inside of me," Gordon said. "If I knew, I would have fought for the spot and maybe they would have called off the restart and lined us up right."
Gordon raced the 81 car hard on the restart, but glanced off the turn four wall two laps later and slowed.
"I don't know if I got a nudge or if I just drove it in the wall," he explained. "I had my foot in it all the way to the carburetor because I wanted to get by the 81. I took on two tires when everyone else took on four, and I figured if I got past the 81 and got out in front I could cruise and conserve my tires so new left-sides wouldn't make a difference."
Gordon went back to the team's hauler and the crew set about repairing the damage, and returned him to the race on lap 110. He continued on to finish the race without further incident in twentieth place.
"If I had my way I wouldn't have gone back out there, I was afraid I'd wreck the car for nothing," he said. "I don't blame the guys for wanting to go back out there, since we came here to race. But everything worked out well and we've got something to race at Thompson.
Gordon and the Woodworks team wraps up their 2005 season in two weeks when the series returns to Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway, which will be a make-up event for a race that was rained out in May.
"We had a good test there, but when we went back for the race the brakes were screwed up," he said. "The brakes are fine now so we should be in good shape at Thompson."