DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (February 16, 2011) – – In his ARCA Racing Series (ARS) presented by Menards debut, Benny Gordon posted a solid seventh place finish in the No. 09 VSI Ford Fusion powered by RoushYates Engines. The finish showed that no matter the driver, the Grant Enfinger Racing (GER) team is a force to be reckoned with. After an extremely impressive outing in the three-day open test last month at Daytona International Speedway were Gordon top the charts. Led by crew chief Howard Bixman returned to the 2.5-mile superspeedway looking for a solid performance.
In practice on Thursday, Gordon, the USARacing Pro Cup Series veteran negotiated the 15th fastest time after circling the racetrack in 49.019 seconds at 183.602 miles per hour. Not satisfied with the effort, the team focused on happy hour were they posted a time of 48.280 seconds at 186.413 miles per hour which put the GER team fifth fastest.
After 47 cars made their attempt around the newly re-paved superspeedway track, Gordon had posted the 20th fastest lap overall with a time of 49.537 seconds or 181.682 miles per hour in qualifying.
From the drop of the green flag in the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200, Gordon quickly began inching his way up through the running order. When the first yellow flag waived on lap four, Gordon has positioned himself solidly into the top-15.
When racing resume, Gordon maintained a spot inside the top-17 until the second yellow flag waived when the No. 09 avoided an incident ahead of him when Tom Hessert received a tap from behind and went spinning in front of the pack on lap 18.
During the yellow flag, the team took advantage to make their required pit stop when the lead group came to pit road on lap 19. Crew chief Bixman called for fuel only during the stop which allowed a lighting fast stop and Gordon returning to the track inside the top-20.
Racing resumed with the VSI Ford Fusion in the 18th position. Quickly though, the DuBois Pennsylvania native marched back into the top-10 where he remained during much of the race’s second-half.
In the closing laps, Gordon with Ford teammate Chad McCumbee and car owner Grant Enfinger in the rear-view mirror, the gang tried to catch the lead draft of six cars but ran out of time and had to settle for a 13-position improvement in his ARCA Racing Series debut.
“Overall, we had a great day for the VSI Ford Fusion,” said Gordon, who impressed in his “World Center of Racing” debut The car was real good, we just couldn’t get our group together quick enough to make a dent with the lead pack. I want to thank Howard (Bixman, crew chief), Grant (Enfinger, car owner) and everyone with the GER team for the opportunity.” Bixman commented on his driver’s performance. “I was very impressed with Benny, he did a great job all week long. We gave up a little in qualifying to be a good in the draft. We were a little nervous starting from 20th, but Benny was able to quickly position himself in the right place and move up rapidly. I wish we would have had five more laps, but we’ll take seventh and move onto to Talladega.” For car owner and ARCA driver Grant Enfinger, who finished ninth two positions behind his familiar No. 09 in the No. 36 BeasleyAllen.com / Excaliber Coach Dodge Charger for Allgaier Motorsports, he was proud of the team’s effort.
“Benny (Gordon) showed a lot of patience and Howard (Bixman, crew chief) did a great job like he always does, he has the superspeedway tracks covered at Daytona. The car looked strong and I believe Benny learned a lot not only about the draft but ARCA racing in general. I’m happy.”
The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards will take nearly an eight week pause before actions resumes at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on Friday, April 15th, 2011 live on SPEED.