Robby Gordon Circuit Gilles Villeneuve Race Recap
Charlotte, August 31, 2010: Robby Gordon and the No. 07 MAPEI / Menards team looked poised to win Sunday’s NAPA Auto Parts 200, but an untimely late caution would cost the team the victory and leave Gordon still looking for a win in Montreal.
Gordon qualified 16th for Sunday’s race, but was forced to drop to the back of the field when the team had to repair a broken brake duct after qualifying. The team knew that they had their work cut out for them starting last, but their race strategy started to immediately fall into place with early caution laps, the first being on Lap 3. Gordon used this opportunity to come to pit lane during each lap of caution to fuel the No. 07. When the race resumed on Lap 7, he was scored in 38th.
The caution again flew on Lap 8. An excited Gordon called to the pits saying, “Well, this race just fell into our hands boys.” With nothing to lose, he again brought the No. 07 to pit lane during this caution period first for four tires and fuel and then pitted again just before the green flag for fuel.
The third caution came on Lap 12 and this time Gordon was hit hard from behind, causing damage to the rear bumper and right quarter panel. The team brought the No. 07 to pit road to repair the quarter panel. Most of the leaders stayed out during this caution period with just a couple pitting for tires and fuel, including the No. 60.
When the race resumed, Gordon was scored 23rd and was quickly moving his way to the front. When the fourth caution flew on Lap 21, the leaders came to pit lane for their first stop of the day and the No. 07 was scored as the race leader. After the caution, Gordon was the leader but was racing very conservatively in order to preserve his equipment to the end. Edwards passed him on Lap 29. Gordon radioed to his crew, “Carl has better brakes than me, so I am just going to let him go and save our stuff for the end.”
Gordon settled into third position with Edwards and Ambrose battling for the lead. On Lap 42, Gordon gave up third place to pit for four fresh tires and fuel. This would be Gordon’s final stop of the day – a stop that would ultimately determine his fate in Sunday’s race.
As the race laps counted down, both Edwards and Ambrose had failures putting Gordon at the top of the leader board once again. The No. 07 team knew that they had enough fuel to get to the end of the 74 scheduled green flag laps, but there was no excess fuel in the tank for a green-white-checker restart. An unfortunate caution on Lap 73 ended Gordon’s chance of win; he ran out of fuel on Lap 76 resulting in a disappointing 14th-place finish.
Robby’s Thoughts – “If the race doesn’t have a caution at the end and a green-white-checker, we win. And it’s easy to say if you did this you should have done that, but with what happened to us in qualifying and starting last, we made our bed this morning. When we started the race, we had a plan – and we lived and died by it. It’s unfortunate we ran out of fuel.”
“Every time we come here, we at least put ourselves in a position to win the race. Sometimes you beat yourself and sometimes you get beat. This time here maybe we beat ourselves because we shot for Lap 74 and if that would have happened we would have won.”