Watkins Glen: Robby Gordon "wake up call" interview

Robby Gordon in the No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet was the guest of today's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup wake up call. Robby Gordon won each of the road courses at Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glen International in 2003. He is currently ranked 23rd in...

Robby Gordon in the No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet was the guest of today's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup wake up call. Robby Gordon won each of the road courses at Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glen International in 2003. He is currently ranked 23rd in the points standings with two finishes in the top five and four finishes in the top ten this season. He will start 23rd in the race tomorrow.

WHAT ARE YOUR MEMORIES OF THIS RACE LAST YEAR?

"We had a good run here last year obviously. We picked up our second road course win of the year. We're looking for our first win of 2004 and we feel this could obviously be a good place just like last weekend could have been a good place. We've had some really good runs but unfortunately we haven't had the end results at the end of the day. We're sitting here 23rd in the points. That will at least make it exciting to see if we come from 23rd to the front. Jeff Gordon starting on the front row is a big advantage for him. But we'll see. The first couple of laps will be real important. We'll get as many cars as we can and catch them sleeping and race from there on."

WHAT HAVE YOUR CONVERSATIONS BEEN WITH RICHARD CHILDRESS ON YOUR FUTURE?

"Actually I hung out with Richard all night last night but we didn't talk anything about the future. We had some fun. It was a good deal. I don't know what is going to happen. I say this all the time. I've enjoyed working for Richard. It's been a lot of fun. Hopefully we'll be able to continue that. If not, I'm sure something else will happen. Lake life wouldn't be that bad."

ON HAVING A GOOD CAR THIS YEAR AND BAD LUCK

"My engineer Chris Andrews and myself went back yesterday. We should be sitting here around 11th or 12th if we just would be on the game plan we set at Michigan. We qualified fifth there. We're going to have a good race car there. We got involved in an incident there. We had the Sonoma deal. We had the Brickyard deal last week. You look at 300 or 400 points that just slipped out of our hands. We easily should be shooting to get into the top ten but instead we're sitting here 23rd in the championship. Unfortunately the scoreboard doesn't show how good of a race team the 31 Cingular Wireless is. Maybe we'll be able to show it again this weekend. If I win here it's kind of anticlimactic. I don't know how to say that. Everybody expects me to win at the road course. We've run so well here. Since I've had my own team back in 2000, we started dead last and finished third or fourth. There's no reason we shouldn't be able to come from 23rd to the front provided we dot all our i's and cross all our t's."

WHAT DOES A DRIVER HAVE TO DO TO BE SUCCESSFUL ON THIS TRACK?

"This track is definitely different than Sonoma or Infineon or whatever you want to call it, Sears Point. Sears Point is a stop and squirt track. You have to have really good traction coming off the corner. You have to be able to modulate the throttle. Here it's different than that because you only really have one somewhat of a low speed corner down in turn one. Everything else is very fast, transition left to right corners. That's something that when we built our road race car, the same car we're racing here, we built it for high speed change of direction, very stiff and it seems to work very well here."

HOW DO YOU BEAT JEFF GORDON WHO IS STARTING FROM THE FRONT ROW?

"We're going to beat him half a second a lap. We're going to catch him and pass him and go to the front. There's no reason we can't beat straight up starting 23rd. We don't need race strategy or anything. We came from 20th last weekend to get to him. There's no reason we can't come from 23rd on a road course, which is probably an easier place to pass than Indianapolis."

DO YOU HAVE A MARK YOU HAVE TO ACHIEVE FOR?

"With this race, no. We can win every race until that time and still wouldn't get ourselves inside the top ten. Right now I think the most important thing is trying to not let our good team get torn apart because of bad luck and try and get the best results we can week in and week out. If it's a win, it's a win. If it's a third, it's a third. I'm pretty sure they have a pretty healthy bonus for 11th. That's something that we can at least shoot for. We're a better race team than 23rd."

"We had some goals. You look at our goals and they get decided by sometimes other people than myself or even my crew chief. We've had things like running over debris last weekend or other things that have happened, wheels coming off at Sears Point. You look at all these races that have slipped out of our hands. We've had cars that are very capable. For example at Sears, on the pace chase for qualifying I was on Jeff's pole lap all the way until our tire hopped. I qualified 20th but 10 laps we were running ninth. There's no reason we can't start where we are starting here and go to the front."

DO YOU SEE A CHANGE IN HOW THIS RACE IS RUN WITH THE NEW CHASE FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP?

"I don't know. The guys from fifth forward are pretty safe. From seventh back to 12th or 13th is pretty tight. I don't see that changing the way they race here. NASCAR drivers are very good road racers. Obviously Tony Stewart is good. I think Dale Jr. ran really good here last here. There's guys that have picked up their road racing program. I think it will be an exciting race for sure. I don't think the race for the Championship has come into play yet at least not for the guys who are really good at the road courses. You got Ryan, Tony, Jeff. Rusty Wallace is sitting back in the points and is a pretty good racer here. Dale Jarret is good. There are plenty of good race car drivers that are good on the road course as well."

WHAT PART OF THE TRACK WERE THERE PROBLEMS WITH YESTERDAY?

"I don't know. I didn't get to make a lap so I don't really know where it was at. I'm sure they talked about it. I thought if the water was the same for everybody we still would have qualified on it. It would have been the same for everybody."

WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH THE TRACK SEEPING WATER?

"I don't know. I don't think rain tires would have solved the problem yesterday either. Rain tires are not good unless it's wet in certain areas so you can at least keep those tires cool. You want to get a hold of the race track the best you can. On the straight aways you move into the wet water to keep them cool. With individual knobbings they run a lot hotter than a regular tire. I think just a seeping issue would not have made a difference on a rain tire. I didn't see it so it's for me to comment. If it was running all the way across the race track it might be different."

HAVE YOU RACED IN THE RAIN?

"I've raced in the rain. I like racing in the rain. It would have been fun."

WHAT'S YOUR OPINION ON THE NEW POINTS FORMAT?

"It doesn't matter if I was in it our not. If I was 10th right now, you really wouldn't have a shot at winning it. I think it's going to be exciting. I see no reason not to do it. I think it will make it more exciting the last 10 races of the year. It will give you media and the fans and everybody something to watch every weekend. Right now Jeff (Gordon) and Jimmie (Johnson) could kind of maintain and one of those two guys would win the championship. Now weekend to weekend it all changes."

ON YOUR THOUGHTS IF YOU'RE NOT IN THE TOP TEN

"I know where you are headed here. Like I said, if you were 10th right now who cares. You still wouldn't be able to win the championship. We just got to do the best job we can so we can prove to our sponsors and our supporters at Richard Childress Racing that we are a top fifteen team or top ten team or whatever it may be. We just need to do the best job we can week in and week out."

HOW WILL JEFF BURTON FIT IN THE RCR ORGANIZATION? DO YOU THINK THIS IS A SIGN THAT RICHARD CHILDRESS IS TRYING TO SHAKE THINGS UP?

"I don't know. I like Jeff Burton. I think he'll be a good teammate. Dave Blaney was a really good guy. He did a good job in the 30 car, just unfortunately had some bad luck too. He ran really good at Chicago. He's run really good at some race tracks. He was running good at Indianapolis for a while until he got a flat tire or whatever happened to him. Time will tell what Jeff will bring to the program. I'm sure he'll be a good teammate. We'll have a lot of fun. Hopefully we'll have some success. We'll see."

-gm racing-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Robby Gordon , Dave Blaney
Teams Richard Childress Racing