By admin | March 31, 2009
By Richard Allen
It was the best of tracks. It was the worst of tracks.
For Jeff Gordon and Robby Gordon that phrase borrowed from classic literature sums up the careers of these two drivers at the Martinsville Speedway. It also comes very close to summing up the two drivers’ afternoon in the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 this past Sunday.
As the leader of the Sprint Cup standings Jeff Gordon was awarded the pole position due to the rainout of qualifying on Friday. The #24 Chevrolet took the led and held it throughout much of the race’s early stages.
For a while, the four time Sprint Cup champion appeared set to break a losing streak that dates back to the 2007 season. Gordon’s career at Martinsville would certainly indicate there was the possibility for a win, or at least a high finish. He has had seven wins and 27 Top 10s on the tiny Virginia track.
On the other hand, Robby Gordon’s career on the flat half-mile is not nearly so impressive. This Gordon has never scored a Top 10 at Martinsville in 18 starts.
Sunday’s race went no better for Robby Gordon. After being involved in multiple incidents on the track he finally retired to the garage area and settled for a 40th place result. Oddly enough, it was his third consecutive 40th place result on the Virginia track.
Jeff Gordon did not win but his 4th place finish did allow him to maintain his lead in the Sprint Cup standings as the series heads off to a track that has not treated him so well throughout his career, the Texas Motor Speedway.
Robby Gordon’s finish dropped him to 31st in the overall standings. As is so often the case with smaller teams, Robby Gordon Motorsports is flirting with the Top 35 in the owner’s standings, and thus could be in danger of losing the guarantee of a starting spot in the following race should they suffer another poor outing another poor outing.
Two things are almost a certainty when it comes to the Gordons racing at Martinsville. Jeff looks forward to going there and Robby looks forward to leaving.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
*Click on the link below to watch my short animated film, “Racing Re-Cap: Martinsville”. It is meant for a laugh so I hope you find some humor in it.
The characters do not represent any real people.
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