Richard Childress Racing has announced that Robby Gordon has been placed on probation for the remainder of the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season. Gordon discussed the situation with the media at Dover International Speedway on Saturday...
Richard Childress Racing has announced that Robby Gordon has been placed on probation for the remainder of the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season. Gordon discussed the situation with the media at Dover International Speedway on Saturday morning.
ROBBY GORDON: "I wish I was here in different circumstances talking about good things instead of bad things. What happened last weekend obviously I'm sorry for. I'm more sorry to Tony Stewart and Jeremy Mayfield putting them behind the eight ball leading into this ten race championship. I hope they have an opportunity to climb back up into the championship. I'm sorry we got to this situation. I didn't intend for it to be this at all."
DO YOU THINK THIS SITUATION WOULD HAVE GOTTEN THE SAME ATTENTION IF THIS WASN'T A PART OF THE CHASE FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP?
"I think this has gotten the attention it's gotten for other reasons besides just even the on-track issue. No, if it wasn't so tight in a ten race chase it probably wouldn't of had the attention it has. All of us on the outside are under a lot of pressure trying to do the best job we can for our sponsors to get the performance we can week in and week out. We had really a good race car. I was able to pass nine cars in the first 16 laps and I felt I got wrecked on purpose. That's what led to the situations that continued to pile on from there."
HAVE YOU SPOKEN TO GREG BIFFLE?
"Actually I did talk to Greg. I ran into Greg coming back from dinner last night. I did go to Tony's bus. Unfortunately I have not spoke with Tony or Jeremy. I've been to both their buses. I did leave the country on Sunday night from Boston. I did talk to Greg Biffle and his comment was "does this mean that I don't get to go to Glamis with you on Christmas?" Between me and Greg there is no issue because he knows what he did and he knows what I did. I consider Greg not only a fierce competitor but a good friend of mine. We have a lot of fun racing each other. We do take it serious. We do understand that both of us have great sponsors on our cars and that we represent more than just us as race car drivers as well. It happened."
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO WATCH WHAT YOU SAY ON THE RADIO?
"Well I regret obviously saying I was going to wreck him on the radio. But I am a man of my word. If I tell you I'm going to do something most of the time I do it. I think if RC (Richard Childress) would of heard me say that on the radio, he would of obviously got on the radio and advised otherwise like he has in the past. It happened. The biggest thing I'm sorry about it happening is collecting Jeremy and Tony. The deal with Greg is a deal with Greg."
WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON WHAT HAPPENED POST-RACE WITH THE MEDIA?
"I liked your article on the front page. It was really good. As far as post-race, nothing happened in post-race. I have read what Jim Utter and others have posted and I consider Claire B. Lang a good friend of mine. I did not push Claire B. Lang after the race. Did I give somebody the finger sign? Yes. Was it to all the media? No. It was to one individual. I didn't even think anybody would really see it. I tried to do it as discreet as possible but it happened."
WHAT WAS YOUR INITIAL REACTION AFTER SEEING THAT TONY STEWART AND JEREMEY MAYFIELD WERE INVOLVED?
"That's why I was so mad after the race. I wasn't mad because I sat there and drove a wrecked race car around for 270 laps. It was the fact that I had to think about those two guys and I know that they were in this race for the Championship and I had affected their championship race. That's really why I didn't want to talk after the race because I didn't want to say the wrong thing. Unfortunately I don't say anything and I get the wrong thing out. I guess it would have been just easier to say sorry for wrecking Tony and Jeremy. I didn't know what to say at that point to be honest with you."
IS EVERYONE THAT WROTE THAT YOU PUSHED CLAIRE B. LANG WRONG?) "Yeah. How do I say this? Clair has been a friend and supporter of mine for a long time. Have any of you seen her husband? He's a pretty big guy. The last thing I'm going to do is push Claire B."
COULD YOU HAVE UNINTENTIONALLY MOVED CLAIRE B. LANG?
"If as she was walking, I'm 200 pounds and Claire's all of 110, if she got moved a little bit, it was not an intentional shove. Obviously you guys would know. You've seen situations with me in the past. You guys would know if I shoved somebody. If I bumped into ya, I apologize. Obviously it was not intentional. It was directed at the media and I said "not right now" and I meant it to everybody because I knew the situation and the way it was going to explode and it happened just like I thought it would."
ON PROBATION WILL YOU RACE DIFFERENTLY? WILL YOU BE AWARE OF OTHER CHASE CONTENDERS?
"It's hard to race careful. Being a racer, I'm aggressive and I can control my race car. Will I be careful around Chase contenders? Obviously, but at the same time I'm even more in the situation where I have to perform. The best that could happen is us win the race this weekend and this would be old news and we'd be on to something else. From my side it's important to have performance on the race track as well. We're sitting here 22nd in the Championship, very easily we could be back inside the 15 maybe as far up as 13th. About two weeks ago we could have won California. Three weeks ago we could have won Watkins Glen. Four weeks ago we were running third with a few laps to go in Indianapolis and we ran a flat and all the sudden I'm the worst driver out here in the series. It's amazing the way things change in such a short period of time."
WILL THIS HAMPER YOUR ABILITY TO RACE?)" It will hamper my ability. Obviously I have a lot of respect for Richard and will see what kind of probation or what kind of pressure he wants to put on me but I will try to do to the best of my ability to race people as clean as possible. At the same time I don't have a deal for next year and I have to perform. It's a catch 22; you're in between a rock and a hard spot."
SO YOU DON'T HAVE A DEAL FOR NEXT YEAR?
"I don't have a deal for next year. I could very easily be back with RCR. I've had a good run there. We've won three points races and one non-points race. We've had some good performance. Our 31 car has been performing well. We just don't have the results. If you look at the race mid-way through at the end something weird will happen. We're either real loose or we're pitting and a caution will come out or something has held us from results. I believe we have a good race team and we have a good thing going on. Time will tell."
ARE YOU ON PROBATION WITH NASCAR?
"I just had a conversation with Mike Helton and he didn't say any of the sort. He said my punishment I received last weekend for being two laps held should have been embarrassing enough to be what it is."
DO YOU WORRY ABOUT YOUR ON-TRACK ACTIONS AFFECTING YOUR REPUTATION WITH OTHER DRIVERS?
"I've obviously read some of their comments as well. I'm sure it does. I respect what they have to say but I think they also know I can drive the wheels off the race car. I try to do the best job I can."
ON THE SITUATION IN REGARDS TO THE CHASE FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP
"If I didn't say it over the radio I could go and lie to everybody and say "hey, I didn't mean to do it." But obviously everybody knows I did. What I'm disappointed in is that two other guys got caught up in this melee was not their fault. They were innocent by-standers in this situation. This kind of thing happens. It's happened this year. I can name three instances where top-ten drivers had similar circumstances but it wasn't in this race for the Championship. Now it is and obviously the eyes are on it. This ten race format is getting the attention that it obviously deserves but at the same time I'm wasn't supposed to be in this attention. I was supposed to be a spoiler and try to win a race here and there. That's what our job is for the next nine races."
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT RICHARD CHILDRESS PUTTING YOU ON PROBATION?)
"It's pretty big. When we're right here in contract re-negotiating time that's not only big at RCR and other places as well. I'll just have to mind my Ps and Qs and try to do the best job I can like I have over the last couple of years. I've worked really hard with the media and the fans by making myself accessible and trying to make my way here in NASCAR and the Cup Series and I'll just try to do the best job I can."