Checkered Countdown: Top-Five Sonoma Finishes

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No.5 Robby Gordon passes Kevin Harvick while racing back to the line during a caution and wins (2003).

One very controversial finish at Sonoma, and not the only one in this edition of Checkered Countdown, came in the 2003 Dodge/Save Mart 350. On lap 71 Christian Fittipaldi crashed at the end of the section of the esses bringing out the caution. In 2003 the rule of the race back to the line at the time of a caution was still in use ( it was indeed changed during that year). This allowed Robby Gordon, teammate of the leader Kevin Harvick, to try to make a move on him in turn 11 before crossing the finish line and before the field would be frozen. Gordon passed Harvick, got the lead and never looked back until the checkered flag. His move on his teammate ended up creating a lot of discussion since it was made in spite of a “gentlemen’s agreement” between drivers: one driver would not pass another car when racing back to the caution. A reason for this controversial move by Gordon could be seen in what had happened between these two drivers two years earlier at the same track, but keep reading, you may know more about it at the end of our countdown.

Next: Juan Pablo Montoya