CHAMPCAR/CART: Team Gordon Finds a Home at Road America

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (July 5, 1999) - It might be a couple thousand miles from its Southern California-based race shop, but Team Gordon enjoys a homecoming, of sorts, with this weekend's Texaco/Havoline 200 at venerable Road America. ...

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (July 5, 1999) - It might be a couple thousand miles from its Southern California-based race shop, but Team Gordon enjoys a homecoming, of sorts, with this weekend's Texaco/Havoline 200 at venerable Road America. Fresh off a wet and wild ninth-place run in the CART FedEx Championship Series' farewell performance at Cleveland's Burke Lakefront Airport, owner/driver Robby Gordon and his troops set up camp this weekend just a hop, skip and a jump from the home of co-owner John Menard. Menard, who with Gordon and Mike Held established Team Gordon this past offseason, makes his home in Eau Claire, Wis., from where he also runs his midwest-based chain of some 160 Menards home improvement stores. "Road America has always been a homey place to race - very beautiful, very comfortable surroundings, and one of the world's most classic road courses," said Gordon, who at 30 became the series' only owner/driver this season. "The food's great, the people are very nice. It's become that much more special for us as Team Gordon because we can call ourselves the home team - sort of." Gordon will once again pilot the No. 22 Johns Manville/ Panasonic/Menards Toyota-powered Champ Car that was running as high as fourth late in the race at Cleveland two weekends ago. But a pit stop to replace a cut tire with less than 12 minutes to go dropped him back to ninth. "Nonetheless, we left there feeling like we had about as much fun as we had all year," Gordon said. "We slid off the track several times. It was a mess. But it was a lot of fun. Hopefully, we'll be able to come back strong this weekend on a totally different kind of racetrack. We go from the wide open spaces of an airport road course, to a more traditional 4-mile road course that's got all kinds of challenges. It's got its fast parts and its slow parts, so finding the right balance as quickly as possible will be the key." Coming off its second points-producing race of the season will also have Team Gordon camp coming into the weekend on a high note. "To finish the way we did was especially sweet because we had our share of struggles earlier in the weekend at Cleveland," Held said. "We've gotten into a bit of a slump on Fridays and Saturdays the last few races. But, sure enough, we've come out strong for Sunday-morning warm-up. That's a good thing, to come out strong on race day, but it's also frustrating because you wish you could've found the right package two days earlier, when practice began on Friday. "But this is what you sign up for when you start a brand new race team. We all bought into that when the season started. The key is to keep looking forward, build on your successes, learn from your mistakes, and remember that this is all supposed to be fun. Racing has its ups and downs. If it was easy, everybody would do it!" Practice and qualifying for the Texaco/Havoline 200 begins Friday (July 9) and continues Saturday (July 10). Race time is 2 p.m. EDT on Sunday (July 11). It will be aired live on ABC-TV.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Robby Gordon
Teams HART