Robby Gordon's "Double Time" is officially over. With the checkered flag late in the night at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Robby Gordon closed Sunday's race schedule with a tag-team, 35th place effort in the Coca-Cola 600. Due to a lengthy rain ...
Robby Gordon's "Double Time" is officially over. With the checkered flag late in the night at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Robby Gordon closed Sunday's race schedule with a tag-team, 35th place effort in the Coca-Cola 600. Due to a lengthy rain delay in Indianapolis, Gordon turned his Burger King Ford Taurus NASCAR Winston Cup car over to friend and Busch Series driver PJ Jones to start while Gordon finished the Indianapolis 500. Starting 4th at Indy, Gordon had a tremendous charge on the race's opening lap moving underneath pole-sitter and teammate Greg Ray to try and pry the lead of the race away early. But not wanting to take out Ray and himself in the first of 800 turns scheduled on the day, Gordon backed off.
Robby stayed in the top-five with Ray and eventual winner Juan Montoya for most of the day. But in the end, Gordon simply couldn't keep pace with Montoya and Buddy Lazier. He had to settle for sixth, a disappointing follow-up to last year's race in which Gordon led until the final lap where he ran short of fuel eventually finishing fourth.
ROBBY GORDON on Indy
"At Indy, the way this race is and with its tradition, anything short of winning doesn't really matter. We had a good car today, just not a great car. The unfortunate thing is the race went the way we wanted it. We didn't have any problems, our pit stops were very fast and we were in the hunt and on the lead lap with 50 to go. That's what we talked about and that's where we were, we just didn't have the power to handle Montoya and the guys ahead. Early on I was being fairly conservative. I tried to take the lead on the start and Greg and I almost got into each other. I thought if the lane was there and I could grab it I'd do it, but Greg tried to shut the door, we almost touched, and I thought maybe we ought to take it easy early.
"We set a pretty good fast lap which was right with Juan's in the early going. I had a little dice with him, passed him and felt we could run with him late, then settled in for the long haul. I had a feeling Juan would run out and be the rabbit, sometimes though that's not the best strategy. Greg and Arie did that last year and both went out about half way. This is a tough race, you have to take care of your car, save fuel and keep out of trouble. Juan basically ran away and everything held up.
"On the second to the last stop we pulled the wicker and decided this was it, we needed to find straight away speed or we were never going to catch Juan. But pulling the wicker didn't really help. Neither did Cheever for that matter, I'm not sure what his deal is out there, but he's got to stop blocking. Had I been in my Winston Cup car I would have given him a good-sized love tap and moved him out of the way. That was pretty frustrating having to get by him. Race me all day long, I'm fine with that, just race me clean.
"We'll be back though. I've been too close to this too many times now. John (Menard) puts a great car and a great program under me here. Not winning it this year is just going to make this team even more determined to come back next year."
"The second the rains came in Indy we knew Charlotte was going to be hard to make on time. The window is tight as it is. The only thing we had in our favor was a report of rain early in Charlotte. PJ (Jones) started and ended up running most of the race, something like 250 laps. He did a great job. By the time I jumped in after the rain delay we had one of the fastest cars on the track. I think his input and driving style are similar to mine because we both came from racing Indy cars last year. We struggled with the Cup car all week getting speed out of it. But by the time the race had ended it was the best it had been and very competitive with the leaders. That for us is a big bonus as we build for the future."
On the Double
"It's a long day and a lot of work, that's for sure. I've had a couple of people here ask if I'd do it again and my answer is 'yes.' We're here to make our NASCAR program work, but I think running the Indy 500 is going to be a part of the program as well. It's great for the sponsors and it's good for us as well. This team has been through a lot in the early going. Having Indy come along has added a level of excitement for everyone and I know it's something John Menard will always want to do. As long as he's willing to put a car under me I'm willing to bring my helmet and try to win that sucker.
"Tired? I'm tired, no question. But I'm not exhausted. After the 500 I went to the infield med center and took an IV which I carried on the plane to Charlotte. Honestly, I felt fine after the 500 and tried to get out of it, but everyone yelled at me and demanded I take it. They kept telling me about Tony not taking it last year. It was kind of a nightmare too, the nurse kept missing the vein and rooting around in my arm until she finally got it in there. In the 600, I felt fine. PJ helped there by running all those laps, but I do feel good anyway. I figure I ran about 730 miles total. Anyway you slice it, it's a long day, especially with all the rain delays. I'd like to thank everyone that made it happen too; Burger King and Turtle Wax for stepping up to sponsor the two races; John Menard and Team Menard; PJ; and the Team Gordon crew. Everyone did a great job."