VANCOUVER, B.C., Canada (Aug. 30, 1999) -- The Eagle flies again for Robby Gordon and his first-year CART FedEx Championship Series team at this weekend's Molson Indy Vancouver, where both the chassis of the legendary Dan Gurney and Gordon have...
VANCOUVER, B.C., Canada (Aug. 30, 1999) -- The Eagle flies again for Robby Gordon and his first-year CART FedEx Championship Series team at this weekend's Molson Indy Vancouver, where both the chassis of the legendary Dan Gurney and Gordon have enjoyed success in past runs around scenic Concord Pacific Place.
Gordon, the 30-year-old veteran of eight CART seasons, scored a memorable pole position and runner-up finish here while driving for Derrick Walker in 1994, added another podium finish the following year, and another top-10 finish the year after that.
"This is a track where you can really stretch your wings," Gordon said figuratively, not literally, as he comes to town with the #22 Johns Manville/Panasonic/Menards Toyota-powered Eagle he unveiled in the team's familiar blue and rainbow colors with Gurney's venerable Eagle graphic on the nose. "Like Detroit, where I had my first road-course win, Vancouver is a special place for me. I'm looking forward running the Eagle here this weekend. It led some laps here last year, and I'd like to do the same. Especially the last one!"
Team Gordon, formed by CART's only owner-driver in partnership with John Menard and Mike Held, comes to town on something of a roll. Two weeks ago, racing the Eagle chassis for the first time at Chicago, Gordon scored his fourth top-10 finish in his last seven events and fifth of the season. Amazingly, those numbers involve three different chassis -- Swift and Reynard being the others.
After his strong debut in the Eagle at Chicago, and an impressive two-day test session in the car at Mid-Ohio prior to that, it was an easy decision for Gordon to stay with the new package on the demanding Concord Pacific Place street circuit.
"It's different this year than it was back when I won the pole in '94," Gordon said. "They've added a high-speed section on the back of the course that makes the track a lot different from our other street courses. Toronto and Houston, for instance, are a series of short straights with a medium-length straight. Vancouver is similar to Long Beach. When you accelerate out of Turn Four, the track bends, but you run it flat out until it becomes a straight. At the end is Turn Six, a right-hander and a good passing area.
"It makes for a tough setup because you want the car to work well in the high-speed sections, but also be nimble enough for the other sections, which are all short bursts and tight corners. We struggled with our Long Beach setup in the Reynard. But the Eagle handles closer to the Reynard, so we have all that data to draw on. I'm looking for this race to be much more competitive for us."
Practice and qualifying for the Molson Indy Vancouver starts Friday (Sept. 3) and continues Saturday (Sept. 4). Race time is 1 p.m. PDT Sunday and it will be televised live by ABC.