#13 Sony/Turtle Wax/Menards Ford Taurus
Global Crossing At The Glen Race Notes/Quotes
Starting position – 42nd
Robby Gordon matched his career-best NASCAR finish Sunday with a 4th-place, come-from-behind run in the Global Crossing at The Glen. Gordon started 42nd in his Sony/TurtleWax/Menards Ford Taurus, a position he was given based on the qualifying draw when qualifying Saturday was rained out.
Gordon moved up furiously in the early stages of the race taking 12 spots in the first two laps. By lap 20 he had taken another 10 positions, and on lap 40 he cracked the top-10. From there Gordon methodically pushed forward. On lap 43, he got underneath Rusty Wallace for 9th and set his sights on the top-five. Gordon’s only difficulty throughout the day came under braking where he was forced to use them more than he would have liked passing cars to get to the front of the field. By the end of the day he began to hop the rear tires making overtaking difficult.
After a final pit stop on lap 58 and two yellows shortly after, the stage was set for Gordon in a 20-lap sprint to the finish. He lined up fifth behind race-leader Steve Park, Jeff Burton, Mark Martin and Dale Jarrett, Jarrett being directly in front. Gordon worked on Jarrett for four laps until diving under him in turn one to take fourth place. A mad scramble heading into the bus stop chicane almost resulted in Gordon taking the lead, but he remained fourth as everyone stayed out of trouble. Brakes still remained a problem, however, and while he made a few runs at Burton for third, he admitted he would have had to take Burton out to gain the position. In the end, he used everything he had to hold off a hard-charging Bobby Labonte and keep fourth.
Not only is Gordon’s fourth place the highest finish of the season for himself and Team Gordon, it represents the best finish among first-year teams in 2000. Gordon’s previous best finish of the year was a ninth-place at Sears Point in June.
ROBBY GORDON “Hey, we gave the Sony car a pretty good run, eh! I wanted third-place so badly so I could stand here and tell you it’s my best career finish in NASCAR, but I’m very happy with fourth and matching my finish here in 1997. To get (Jeff) Burton for third I was going to have to crash him and I didn’t want to do that, it probably would taken both of us out. If we missed anything today, we probably should have had more front brakes, I had the bias control maxed and it still wasn’t enough. I started to tire hop in the end from using the brakes all day and having to make so many banzai runs passing and coming up from the back. But we had a very good car and the crew gets the credit for that, especially considering the limited practice time. We didn’t test here, and yesterday in happy hour I may have gotten in 10 laps. Actually, I think we got more experience in the wet that we did the dry!
“We had a couple of close calls early, (Sterling) Marlin spun off turn 11 and everyone scattered trying to get through. I dove onto the grass inside and made it. Then I got hit from behind by Skinner later and almost crashed. Not sure how I saved it, but I do know he didn’t. One thing for certain, Menards won the home improvement wars today! The hairiest of all though was at the bus stop with (Dave) Blaney. I made a move on him because he got sideways going in and we touched in the middle. Initially I thought the right front was really hurt, but it was okay. I had a lot of fun out there, the closer we got to the front the harder it became to pass. These guys are so good now on road courses. But I did think I had them all close to the end there coming into the bus stop after that last yellow. Burton was working on Park hard and Martin was trying to find a way to take advantage of it like I was. Park got loose, then reeled it in. Those three almost got into each other and I thought they had. A hole opened up and just I was ready to fly into it they somehow closed it up. We had another instance like that going into turn one when Martin tried to get both those guys at the same time. In the end though, I just didn’t have the brakes to get Burton. Bobby (Labonte) was screaming down my back and it was all I could do to keep him behind me the last two laps.
“It’s a good feeling right now, the car was great and all the pieces were there to be in a position to win. The motor was solid, we had good pit stops, and good strategy. I think if we could have started in the top-15 we might have had something for Park and Martin late, but I have to give Park a lot of credit. He was the man out there, holding off Martin at Watkins is no easy task. That’s where we want to be and that’s where we’re going, hopefully we can keep building next weekend in Michigan. I know I’m geared up and so is the crew.”