Gordon For Skinner At NHIS

Mike Skinner’s injuries in the Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway have forced him to the sidelines for this weekend’s New England 300 in Loudon, N.H.

Robby Gordon replaces Skinner in the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevy for the New England 300.

Gordon drove the No. 7 Ultra Motorsports Ford at Chicagoland, but the team’s regular driver, Mike Wallace, will be back in that car at NHIS, according to a team official.

Skinner suffered a broken left ankle and aggravated an old injury in his left knee, which occurred in 1998, in the crash that saw a cut tire sent his Chevy into the Turn 1 wall.

Skinner, who was running fourth at the time of the crash, needs surgery on his fractured ankle. Once the yet-to-be scheduled surgery is completed, the team will decide when Skinner will return to the seat. Skinner is awaiting word from doctors about treatment for his torn ACL, a rare injury in stock-car racing but one that often sidelines football players for several months.

Skinner’s injury comes at an unfortunate time for him, as Childress is considering his driver lineup for 2002, and Skinner might not be in it.

RCR, according to a statement, has retained Gordon on a race-by-race basis.

“Robby Gordon is going to help out the Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse Racing team this weekend while Mike takes time to heal from his injuries,” Childress said. “Mike has another doctor’s appointment to see what needs to be done to his knee, but he could be out for at least a couple of weeks.

“Robby drove the Rockwell Automation/Brant Motorsports Chevrolet for RCR in the Busch Series race at Watkins Glen a couple of weeks ago and did an awesome job for us. We’re really going to miss Mike this weekend, but we’re sure Robby will do a good job for us.”

Gordon started the season with Morgan-McClure Motorsports, but that relationship ended after five races and a best finish of 20th. Gordon returned to Winston Cup at Sears Point in Ultra’s Ford and nearly pulled off an upset, holding the lead until a late-race scrap with the lapped car of Kevin Harvick. Still, Gordon ended up second for his best Cup finish.

Gordon was back in the car at Chicagoland, running toward the front until mechanical problems dropped him to a 35th-place finish.

“I’m really glad to have the opportunity to drive the Lowe’s Chevy this weekend, but I wish it was under different circumstances,” Gordon said. “When I raced at Watkins Glen in the Busch race, I learned what a great operation RCR is and how many talented people Richard has working for him.

“I worked with (crew chief) Royce (McGee) back when we were racing in the (IMSA) GTO series and I hope we can take Mike’s car and do a good job with it this weekend.”

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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, 2001

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