Tracy Gordon, driving the Tic Tac Chevrolet out of Strong, Maine, made the third trip to Stafford Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Busch North Series. Following a sixth-best qualifying effort that allowed Gordon to draw the first starting position,...
Tracy Gordon, driving the Tic Tac Chevrolet out of Strong, Maine, made the third trip to Stafford Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Busch North Series. Following a sixth-best qualifying effort that allowed Gordon to draw the first starting position, Gordon was poised to have a top five finish in the race before mechanical gremlins left the car sputtering and forcing its retirement only twelve laps from the end of the race. Gordon was classified as the 25th finisher.
Following qualifying results of tenth and seventh from the two previous visits to the Connecticut half-mile, Gordon's time trial lap of 19.941 seconds (90.266 MPH) placed him sixth. The top eight drivers redrew for starting positions and Gordon drew the pole position.
"We had a pole car in qualifying and I ended up qualifying sixth," he said after qualifying. "Hopefully we can stay out of trouble early in the race. We've got some good guys starting up front in this race so hopefully we can stay out of trouble and get a little bit of breathing room up front, and maybe we can win this thing. The car's really good, we ran the fastest time in practice out of anybody we had timed.
"I'm really optimistic," Gordon continued. "We've had a problem with cars fading late in the race. The last three or four races I've had real good cars that faded late in the race. Hopefully we can keep this thing underneath us and not burn the tires off, and have something for the end."
Gordon held the lead briefly at the start of the race but settled into fourth place, holding that spot through the halfway point. He moved up to third on a lap 84 restart and started pressuring second-place Dale Shaw, but could not make the pass. He continued to run in third until lap 136 when the car slowed with flames shooting from the exhaust. In the pits, the Gordon Racing crew went under the hood to try and diagnose the problem, and got the car refired to make another lap before the problem was designated terminal and Gordon was forced to retire.
"The car was a little tight, but we had a second place car," he said after the race. "We had something for Dale [Shaw], I was underneath him a few times. I was biding my time waiting for the right time to try him without rubbing hard or anything like that.
"We lost the fuel pump or an ignition wire or something and it started backfiring and shooting flames out of it," Gordon continued. "We went back in and got it going, but it was still coughing so we parked it."
Gordon looks to close out the 2001 season on a high note with the running of the final race at Lime Rock Park in two weeks. Gordon finished 14th at Lime Rock last year.