Charlotte, North Carolina (May 31, 2000) Team Gordon has decided to skip this weekend's race in Dover, Delaware to focus and restructure its effort for the remainder of the season. The team has outlined a plan for the balance of the 2000 ...
Charlotte, North Carolina (May 31, 2000) Team Gordon has decided to skip this weekend's race in Dover, Delaware to focus and restructure its effort for the remainder of the season. The team has outlined a plan for the balance of the 2000 schedule that will maximize the ability of the team to perform at a level consistent with Team Gordon's expectations. The schedule will consist of 7 of the next 11 races through August with a re-evaluation for the remainder of the 2000 Winston Cup schedule. In between races, Team Gordon plans to use its time implementing a heavy testing schedule that will also include boosted efforts in research and development.
Team owners Robby Gordon, Mike Held and John Menard all stress the importance of the team's plan as one that will help the young team in the long run.
"This team has been maxed out since January running races every weekend," said general manager Richard Buck. "When I sat down with Robby initially, I told him I'd assess every aspect of this team and help us choose a path that makes sense to take us in the direction of winning. Right now for our team, one of the biggest races is to get to the race. Our guys are working all the time and they work as hard or harder than any team I've ever been associated with. But what we want to do here is be consistently competitive week in and week out. Going to tracks and using race weekends as test sessions isn't where we need to be. We have the tools to do very well in this series. Right now we need to do more testing, catch up on the programs we currently have in place, which are our chassis building and body programs, and get on the right track."
One of the catalysts for the team's new direction is the competitive nature of Winston Cup. In looking back at the season to date, Team Gordon has fared well on tracks they've tested and during times in which their preparation is impeccable. The team has also kept a close eye on the other start-up teams in the series this year, and while Team Gordon has performed better than the other startups, the feeling is that showing up every weekend without an adequate notebook is not the best path to the top-10.
"I know a lot of people are going to ask questions about our decision here, but it is in our best interest to spend our money wisely and apply it towards research and development," said Robby Gordon, driver and co-owner of the #13 Duracell/Turtle Wax Ford Taurus. "I was under no illusion about the competitive nature of Winston Cup. It's very tough. We need to do things right and sometimes that just takes time. We have made our decision to be in Winston Cup for the long term. I just don't want to struggle every weekend trying to make the show because we haven't had the time to do it right. In the beginning of the season we talked about doing a limited schedule and we got away from that because we thought if we soldiered through we'd get there. We're soldiering, but we want to understand the entire package we're dealing with better before we go to battle. That includes the drivetrain, chassis and body.
"Now don't get me wrong, we're not that far off. In fact, what we've accomplished in a short time is actually pretty impressive. And that's a testament to hard work by our team. We just want to test and gain data so we come to the track better prepared. Friday at a Cup race has been a rough day for us. We pull all the stops out to make the show and sometimes we leave a little frustrated. But races where we've tested have been good for us. Look at Vegas; we tested, qualified well, led laps and finished in the top-15. That's what we want."
In the short term, Team Gordon has decided to focus on its road course and intermediate track programs. Wind tunnel testing and more in-depth engineering work is also planned.
"If you look at Charlotte, we had a fast car by the end of that race," added Gordon. "PJ Jones was a big help giving us another voice and a fresh opinion. But he still battled the same things I've been battling. We struggled getting out of the corners at Charlotte and down the straightaway. That could be the driver, it could be the body, it could be our set-up or any number of other variables. But the key is we don't know exactly. I can assure you we plan to find out."