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Phoenix: Robby Gordon race report

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Phoenix: Robby Gordon race report
Apr 14, 2010, 4:16 AM

Charlotte, N.C. (April 12, 2010) -- Robby Gordon and the Warner Music Nashville / Blake Shelton team had a reason to celebrate following the conclusion of the Subway Fresh Fit 600 at Phoenix International Raceway. After spending the last two weeks ...

Charlotte, N.C. (April 12, 2010) -- Robby Gordon and the Warner Music Nashville / Blake Shelton team had a reason to celebrate following the conclusion of the Subway Fresh Fit 600 at Phoenix International Raceway. After spending the last two weeks outside the top-35 in owners' points, the BAMVIP.com / Blake Shelton team recorded their best finish of the 2010 season and fought their way back into the 35th place in the Sprint Cup Series owners' points, which guarantees them a position in this weekend's race at Texas Motor Speedway.

This year's edition of the Phoenix competition involved 100 extra kilometers raced earlier in the evening, which meant added challenges for the crew chiefs as they adjusted the cars to race their best in both the daylight and evening hours. Knowing that the race at Phoenix would be tough, the BAMVIP.com / Blake Shelton team put together enlisted the help of some of the best and brightest in NASCAR to help prepare their Camry and successfully guide Gordon through the 375-lap event.

Gordon qualified the No. 7 Camry in the 33rd position, but immediately began jumping up the leader board when the green flag dropped. By the time the first caution occurred on Lap 14, Gordon called into the crew to report that the car was a little snug around the center of the corner, but otherwise it was great around the 1-mile tri-oval. The crew decided to make a slight chassis adjustment and give Gordon's Camry four fresh tires and fuel.

Gordon continually moved forward through the 43-car-field and worked his way into the 20th position by Lap 95. A caution on Lap 188 allowed the team to once again talk about the handling on the No. 7 and make a few slight adjustments to Gordon's racecar. By that point, the sun was slowly setting around the Arizona short-track, and the track itself was tightening up as it cooled off. The No. 7 Camry was too tight around the turns and Gordon struggled when he tried to return to the gas. The team decided to make another slight chassis adjustment and an air pressure adjustment before serving the car with their standard four fresh tires and tank of fuel.

By Lap 275, the sun had officially set over Phoenix International Raceway and Gordon realized that his Camry was just a bit too free to navigate around the 1-mile tri-oval at top speeds. Gordon continued to race around the track in the 15th position, but he knew he could run faster lap times with a few adjustments. The crew utilized the Lap 315 caution period to make an air pressure and wedge adjustment to help Gordon navigate through the turns easier.

During the closing laps of the 375-lap race, it appeared as though Gordon would finish in the Top 15, but a late-race caution added a bit more drama under the lights at Phoenix. Gordon brought the No. 7 BAMVIP.com / Blake Shelton Camry down pit road for a fresh set of tires with just three scheduled laps remaining. Due to the green-white-checkered rule, the race went into overtime and Gordon had to face the challenge of hard-charging cars racing through the field behind him. Gordon was able to hold on to finish in the 14th-position and regain a position within the top-35 of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series owners' points.

"Tonight was the result of a lot of hard work, smart decisions and thorough preparation," said Gordon. "We came to Phoenix knowing what we needed to achieve as a team, and fortunately we were able to finally put it all together. We had a great performing car and were able to pass guys on the track. We're back in the game, but we'll have to continue to work hard and do our best if we want to stay there. Being able to come here and run in the 15th is a great way to recognize all of the hard work that the team put into our Camry. Hopefully, we'll be able to back up this great finish with a few more over the coming weeks."

Next weekend, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races into Texas Motor Speedway for a 334-lap race on Sunday afternoon, April 18th.

-source: rgm

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Robby Gordon