BNS: Lime Rock: Tracy Gordon race notes

Tracy Gordon nails down fifth in points with eleventh place Lime Rock Park race. Strong, Maine's Tracy Gordon sewed up the fifth place position in the NASCAR Busch North Series championship standings after recording an eleventh place finish in...

Tracy Gordon nails down fifth in points with eleventh place Lime Rock Park race.

Strong, Maine's Tracy Gordon sewed up the fifth place position in the NASCAR Busch North Series championship standings after recording an eleventh place finish in the season's final race, held Saturday at Lime Rock Park, the 1.53-mile road course in Connecticut. Gordon's season comes to a close after he took down one win, six top-fives, and eleven top-tens in nineteen races driving his No. 14 Tic Tac Chevrolet.

It took three tries to get the race in. The first weekend was a total washout, forcing teams to return the following Saturday. On that day, October 19th, an hour of practice was held and most of qualifying completed before rain again put a halt to things and put the end of the season off for another week. Qualifying results were erased and the cars were lined up by their positions in the points standings.

On October 26th, the track was rained on again but dried and the race was on. Gordon, starting fifth, dropped to eighth in the race's early laps and made a strategic move to pit on lap eleven, under the race's first caution. Restarting near the rear of the 36-car field, he watched as the race went back to green and other drivers made pit stops under green.

The second caution of the event, for debris on the track, turned into a 70-minute red flag as rain reappeared and the track needed to be dried again. Gordon, now running in sixth, prepared for the lap 49 restart after the field spent 20 laps finishing the track drying. When the race returned to green, he slipped back to seventh, and stayed there as the final caution of the event came out on lap 52. Under this caution, an announcement was made that when the race resumed, there would be five laps of racing and then the checkers would fly. During those final five laps, Gordon played it conservatively, falling to eleventh but ensuring a top-five points finish.

"I was kind of points racing near the end there, just trying to stay out of trouble," he said after the race. "I was trying to get in the top five in points and we ended up getting fifth. The race itself was all right, we had a good pit strategy. Brad Leighton was the only one that capitalized a little better on the pit strategy. If I hadn't have been points racing at the end there we probably would have ended up somewhere around sixth or seventh. I wasn't much better than that. I was just trying to stay out of trouble there at the end, we had some really aggressive people running all over everyone else at the end so I was just trying to stay out of it and finish as best I could."

The 2002 season is the fifth consecutive in which Gordon has finished in the top ten in Busch North points. For more information on the Gordon Racing team, visit its website at www.tracygordon.com.

-ajc-

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