Tracy Gordon's second place Thompson race is his best finish of 2002 season Strong, Maine's Tracy Gordon broke out of a mid-season slump and put on a strong showing Saturday night when his Tic Tac Chevrolet came within two turns of beating Brad...
Tracy Gordon's second place Thompson race is his best finish of 2002 season
Strong, Maine's Tracy Gordon broke out of a mid-season slump and put on a strong showing Saturday night when his Tic Tac Chevrolet came within two turns of beating Brad Leighton to the checkers of the Pepsi Racing 150 held at the Thompson International Speedway in Thompson, Connecticut. Starting 21st, Gordon made tremendous progress in a tough race to work his way to second and challenging for the lead on the last lap, with a lapped car affecting his pass for the lead.
By making up nineteen positions between the start of the race and the finish, more than any other competitor in the race, Gordon won the Flowmaster Star of the Race award.
During the week before the race, Gordon went through the front suspension of his car thoroughly and discovered some bent and worn out parts that may have contributed to his not being able to run up front this year. After replacing those parts, Gordon came to Thompson, where he won a NASCAR Busch North Series race in the 2000 season, and looked forward to turning his fortunes around. His qualifying run was not encouraging, though, as he was only 21st fastest.
"It was the wrong line in time trials, I guess," he said afterwards. "Going out first, I didn't get to watch anybody else's line. I didn't get to do a sticker run today, either. If I had done a sticker run, I would have seen how slow I was down low like that and would have let it drift up. We should do all right in the race, though."
In the first 30 laps of the race, Gordon had already moved up seven positions to 14th. He was ninth when caution came out on lap 84 and he joined the majority of the field on pit road where the Gordon Racing crew replaced the right-side tires and sent him back into the battle, picking up two positions on pit road.
Following the lap 95 restart, Gordon moved to the top five and at the two-thirds distance mark, was fourth and still charging. Martin Truex, Jr. had a tire going down and gave up second, and Gordon aggressively moved up to that position with a turn four pass of Jamie Aube. That left just the leader, Leighton, between Gordon and victory.
Two late yellows put Gordon's charge on hold, the second of which left just thirteen laps of racing left at the end. Gordon's car, which took a few laps to get going, ran down Leighton with two laps to go and made a move to pass for the lead going into turn three of the last lap. Gordon was alongside, but a lapped car in the low groove forced Gordon to back out and settle for second.
"I think if it hadn't been for the lapped car and the last caution at the end, we might have pulled it off," he said after the race. "But I had 150 laps to take the lead, and I almost took it on the last lap, so I guess it's as much my fault as anybody's. It took like five or six laps for my car to come in, and the car was just coming in and I was starting to reel him in again when that last caution came out. What can I say? I had 150 laps to get there and I did it on 150. If I tried it one lap quicker I'd have been all set."
Gordon's still encouraged with the progress seen in this race and expects, with the front end problems fixed, that they'll continue to run strong.
"We found out the front end was screwed up the last few weeks," he said. "We found that over the week. Both lower and right front upper A-arms were junk and the holes were all slotted on the bottom. I think we're back now. I'm excited to think we've got it going again. I knew it wasn't the team, I knew it wasn't Steve, and I knew it wasn't me. We're back."
Gordon sits in the top ten in series points for the first time this year after Thompson, currently riding tenth. For more information on the team, visit its website at http://www.tracygordon.com.