Dover: Robby Gordon race report

Robby Gordon Ends a Disappointing Weekend With 36th-place Finish in Dover DOVER, Del. (June 4, 2006) -- The weekend at Dover International Raceway started on a sour note for Robby Gordon and his team when a problem with a faulty fuel pump only ...

Dover: Robby Gordon race report

Robby Gordon Ends a Disappointing Weekend With 36th-place Finish in Dover

DOVER, Del. (June 4, 2006) -- The weekend at Dover International Raceway started on a sour note for Robby Gordon and his team when a problem with a faulty fuel pump only allowed them to turn four laps at speed during Friday's practice in preparation for the Neighborhood Excellence 400.

After finally replacing the fuel pump, Gordon was forced to qualify the car Friday afternoon without the benefit of a mock qualifying lap during practice, and as a result fought an "extremely loose" car throughout both qualifying laps and could only muster a 41st-place effort.

Saturday's practices, which were driven by Paul Menard while Gordon defended his 2005 Baja 500 title in Mexico, were not much better as the team used the first session to get Menard comfortable in the car and the second was cut short after only two laps because of rain.

Despite these challenges, Sunday's race began in good fashion and it looked like Gordon would be able to end his weekend on a good note. As early as lap 20, the No. 7 MAPEI(ma-pay)/Menards Chevrolet was turning quick laps. By the time the first caution of nine flew on lap 34, Gordon had already gained nine positions to 32nd place. A small adjustment to correct a loose condition and Gordon was back on his way when the field restarted on lap 40. Gordon continued to charge forward, turning his fastest lap of the race to that point on lap 49 and running in the 25th position. But by lap 60, the adjustment earlier to help tighten up the No. 7 MAPEI/Menards Chevy was too much as Gordon made contact with the SAFER barriers in turns 3 and 4. With both fenders knocked in, creating a tight condition, Gordon was forced to hold on until the caution flag flew again. He was finally able to head to pit road one lap down to get the needed adjustments on lap 115, running in the 40th position.

He lost his second lap to the leaders on lap 148. It was evident the contact with the wall earlier had bent critical suspension components and any adjustments to the No. 7 MAPEI/Menards Chevy that Crew Chief Greg Erwin made were not going to fix an ill-handling car. The problem eventually became severe enough to where Gordon lost control and spun coming out of turn 4, putting the No. 7 MAPEI/Menards Chevy another lap down, eventually ending the day five laps down in the 36th position.

"Obviously we had a bad weekend in Dover," said Gordon. "Thanks to the guys on the team and especially Paul (Menard) for coming over and helping out. Early in the race I thought we might have a chance to make up for the disappointment in Baja (where Gordon and teammate Andy McMillin finished 14th overall in a field of more than 400). The car got tight on me and I hit the fence in turns three and four and that must have bent something and pretty much ended our chances. I'm ready to head to Pocono and bring home a solid finish to get us back up in the points."

Gordon and the No. 7 MAPEI/Menards Chevrolet will head to Pocono Raceway, one of the circuits most unique tracks. Catch coverage of the Pocono 500 on Sunday, June 11th at 1:30 p.m. EDT on FOX. Radio coverage can be heard on national MRN affiliates beginning at 1:30 p.m. EDT.

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