IRL: Gordon's hopes at Indy dashed, now for Charlotte

CONCORD, NC - Robby Gordon's bid for winning the 87th running of the Indianapolis 500 fell short Sunday when a broken gearbox ended his day early. Gordon, piloting the ...

CONCORD, NC - Robby Gordon's bid for winning the 87th running of the Indianapolis 500 fell short Sunday when a broken gearbox ended his day early. Gordon, piloting the #27 Andretti/Green Archipelago/Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone Indy, fell out of the event on lap 169 and placed 22nd overall.

It was a disappointment for Gordon, who had posted the second fastest speed in final practice, nailing down a lap of 227.850 mph. Gordon initially ran in the events top five cars, until pit road problems began to plague the No. 27 and he gradually fell backwards through the field. He had settled into the last car on the lead lap when his gearbox went south and ended his afternoon.

"I was really disappointed with how we ended up at Indy," said Gordon. "I thought we would have been a lot better. Plus, it was almost impossible to pass so when we kept making mistakes on pit lane that made it worse.

"We pitted when the caution flag came out and one time we forgot to take the wicker out of it. You just can't fall back to 22nd or 23rd and be expected to make it back into the top ten too many times. It's just too competitive to be able to do that because those cars have a really bad aero push. I don't even think the guys up front did much passing. It was really, really tough and you just couldn't give up track position."

Gordon, whose full time job is as the driver of the No. 31 RCR Chevy in the NASCAR Winston Cup series, was attempting to perform and Indy/Charlotte double this weekend, driving not only at the Indy 500, but also in Sunday evening's Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

Time was of concern for the 34-year-old California native, as helicopter service in and out of both speedways was suspended due to the FBI raising the terror threat level to high. Gordon made provisional arrangements to be whisked on the back of a police motorcycle from the Brickyard to avoid traffic crunches where he would meet a waiting plane and make his way to the Charlotte track.

Gordon's early exit from the Indy 500 allowed him plenty of time to arrive in North Carolina. While traditional helicopter service in and out of the Speedway was not possible, Gordon was able to hitch a ride into Lowe's Motor Speedway on a Medi-Vac chopper just in time for driver introductions.

He did, however, miss the drivers' meeting -- the mandatory pre-race conference with NASCAR brass -- and thus he will have to start from the rear of the field.

Not such a big deal for Gordon. His qualifying effort only had him slated to start 31st in the 43-car field.

The 1100-mile attempt can be grueling on a driver. Gordon took various medical precautions to ensure his top condition for Sunday's night event in Charlotte.

"I feel fine," said Gordon. "I took the IV and I feel pretty good heading into the race. I've got a little bit of a cold, but I'll be okay."

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Robby Gordon