Already a winner, Gordon ready to start Northern Division run DuBois, Pa.-Winning the opening race of the 2008 Hooters Pro Cup season at Lakeland was an important step for Benny Gordon's effort to repeat as the Pro Cup Champion. Previous runs at...
Already a winner, Gordon ready to start Northern Division run
DuBois, Pa.-Winning the opening race of the 2008 Hooters Pro Cup season at Lakeland was an important step for Benny Gordon's effort to repeat as the Pro Cup Champion. Previous runs at the three-quarter mile track have been very frustrating for Benny resulting in less than desired outcomes. None of his previous 24 wins in Pro Cup have been at the USA International Speedway. Benny's best finish has been fourth on two occasions.
The win at USA Int'l Speedway could be a predictor this will be a good year for Benny.
"I wanted to start this year out with a strong effort and we had one tonight," said Benny. "I have not started a season with a win, so this is an important accomplishment for our team and our goals for 2008. We have worked hard to be ready for this race and the results tonight show that effort has been rewarded. We did not have the fastest car all night, but we had a strong car that was good on the long runs."
After arriving in Florida, the team had just enough time to catch a few hours of rest before hitting the track on Wednesday assisting with the setup of the No. 6s Goodson Consulting Ford of Hunter Robbins. "We built the car last year for Tracy Goodson and asked me to help get it ready for this race. Wednesday was spent getting it dialed in," said Benny.
On Thursday before the race, the team was working on both of the No. 66n Samuel Metals, Johnny's Suzuki, ADG, Predator Performance, Murray's Freightliner cars brought to Lakeland. Each car spent time on the track under the careful eye of new crew chief Dan Glauz. "We set both cars up in the shop nearly identical with just a few differences to see which was the better car," said Dan. "After running both we found one has a bit of an edge over the other on this track so we concentrated on tuning it with shocks and springs for the race on Saturday." Friday was spent getting both cars through technical inspection.
"Technical inspection went smoothly with both cars passing on their first trip through. Having both cars inspected puts us ahead of the power curve when we go to South Boston," said Benny. "We know that we have no major issues to fix. We can concentrate our time preparing the cars and testing both at South Boston to find the quicker of the two."
As the team found out it was a very good idea to get to the track early in the week to test because Friday's practice was rained out. "I originally planned to come down Friday and get a few hours on the track after tech inspection. With the rain out it would have been a big problem for us because we would have had just a short time on Saturday's practice to work on only one car."
Clear weather prevailed on Saturday allowing all scheduled events to take place on time. Practice for Benny went well with the No. 66n leading for a brief time and remaining in the top six throughout the 2-hour event. "The car felt good all through the practice," said Benny. "Dan and I continued to work on different combinations until we found a point where the car was solid all around the track and I felt comfortable."
On lap 26, just the second caution flag of the night Benny pulled into the pit for tires. The No. 66n was the first of the top ten cars to stop. "Only one or two others in the field came in with us and this worked out well for us," said Benny. "We had a problem with the jack and it took us longer than normal to change all four. Luckily, it did not hurt us since only a few cars came in at the same time."
On lap 64 the Samuel Metals No. 66n visited pit road for what turned out to be the last stop of the night. "We came in for fuel when many of the others came for tires and that cycled us back near the front of the field ready to go the distance," said Benny. "I was concerned that our tires may not hold up through the end of the race and we may have to come back in to change tires again, but they were great. These BFGoodrich Tires g-Force radials are fantastic. We ran 178 laps on them and they were just about as fast at the end of the race as they were when we put them on."
"This is a great way to start the season," said Benny. "We lead at the half-way, lead the most laps and won the race. I want to thank all of the sponsors: Samuel Metals, Johnny Dangerfield -- Johnny's Suzuki, the Automotive Development Group, Predator Performance and Murray's Freightliner for the very important role they play in this team and its success. Without these fine sponsors none of this would be possible."