BNS: Gordon Racing Thunder Road race report

Tracy Gordon Returns to Form with Sixth at Thunder Road Tracy Gordon bounced back from a frustrating weekend and a hard crash last week at Nazareth Speedway with a run at what he considers his favorite track, Thunder Road International Speedbowl...

Tracy Gordon Returns to Form with Sixth at Thunder Road

Tracy Gordon bounced back from a frustrating weekend and a hard crash last week at Nazareth Speedway with a run at what he considers his favorite track, Thunder Road International Speedbowl in Vermont, that saw him run as high as second before a late-race suspension problem slowed him to sixth at the checkers.

Gordon, whose win at Thunder Road in 1998 was his first Busch North Series win, was looking to the quarter-mile track as a familiar place to return to his front-running ways after some tough runs in recent weeks. The good news is that he got his race day off to a good start, time-trialing fifth fastest out of a field of 29 cars. The bad news is that he knew he could have gone faster.

"I should have been a little better than that," he said after qualifying. "I lifted too early going into the one turn. They don't set the timing light at the start/finish line, they put it in the first turn and I let it coast into the turn. I think I would have been in the top three easy if I hadn't have done that. Fifth is good. All I'm going to do is ride for a while, hopefully the track will come to us. It's either going to tighten up or loosen up, it never stays the same. We're counting on it tightening up."

Gordon predicted the track conditions correctly on the cool Vermont night. He quickly moved up to third in the opening laps and then moving up to second before the halfway point. He lost second spot to eventual winner Dave Dion on lap 102, and held third until just twelve laps from the end, where the handling went away and he faded to sixth in the closing laps, surviving a last-lap bump with Mike Olsen. After crossing the finish line in sixth, Gordon investigated the car and realized the front sway bar had become bent in the late stages of the race.

"We had a really good car. I'm really disappointed because I thought I had a car to win," he said afterwards. "I guess I got over a lip or something going around a lapped car and bent my sway bar. I bent the sway bar arm so the car became really tight in the middle. I'm disappointed, but there's nothing we can do about it. We ended up sixth. At least we finished, we didn't blow a motor and we finished.

"When I was lined up behind Olsen I thought I had a car that could win," Gordon continued. "The car was just awesome to start off with, it turned in the middle perfect and it got good bite off the turn. Then it all of a sudden went away all at once and I didn't know what was wrong. I lifted the hood and the sway bar's all bent up on it. When I got out over the lip going around the lapped car it must have bent the sway bar arm."

Gordon was glad to be back on track, putting up his first top ten finish since he was sixth at Seekonk Speedway almost a month ago.

"It's encouraging," he said. "Maybe we can go to Beech Ridge and have a good run. It's my second favorite track behind this one."

For more information on Gordon Racing, visit its website at http://www.tracygordon.com.

-GR-

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Series NASCAR