Indianapolis, IN. (May 6, 2000) Â It was a dramatic finish for most in last year's Indy 500, but for Robby Gordon and Team Gordon it was a heart-breaking lap 199 when Robby ran out of gas and was forced to coast into the pits from the lead of...
Indianapolis, IN. (May 6, 2000) It was a dramatic finish for most in last year's Indy 500, but for Robby Gordon and Team Gordon it was a heart-breaking lap 199 when Robby ran out of gas and was forced to coast into the pits from the lead of the race for a splash-and-go. Robby finished 4th but at Indy that's little consolation. For 2000, Robby has officially decided to take another shot at the coveted crown, once again driving one of John Menard's Dallara/Oldsmobiles.
The announcement of Robby coming to Indy again comes on the heels of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway announcement that Gordon's name was recently put on the entry list as driver of the #32 John Menard Indy Car.
"It was a little bit of a shock when it was released so early," said Gordon, whose previous five trips to the 500 have netted three top-5 finishes. "We had just finished qualifying for Richmond and I was watching RPM2night with Richard Buck in our transporter. Robin Miller came on and announced I was driving. Those guys are good, they know before I do - who says drivers don't watch RPM2Night?! I get some good information from that show. Heck, I was planning a week of water skiing and go-karting, now it's back to the brickyard!"
Although Gordon laughs about the manor in which he heard the announcement, he has a hard time hiding his excitement for another chance at one of racing's biggest trophies.
"It's been a topic we've thrown around for months between myself, John and Mike Held," added Gordon. "We didn't want to take any focus away from our Winston Cup effort because that's where we're putting our future. But there's an off week in May that's very convenient to make this happen. And with the cars John Menard and Tom Knapp put on the track, all I have to do is show up with my helmet and drive. Greg Ray has done all the pre-season testing and he's quick, hopefully that's a good sign for me. Honestly, if I wasn't going to Indy I'd be probably be racing something else - I'm not much of a vacation guy!"
Gordon's name has been entered to drive the #32 car but what the Indy Car will look like remains to be seen. Sponsorship opportunity is readily available and the carrot has been dangled for Gordon's current sponsor group including Turtle Wax, Sony, Duracell and Universal Studios.
"John Menard gave us the green light to sell sponsorship on Robby's entry, which we feel is a great value based on Robby's strong run last year and the knowing that he's going to be strong this year as well," said Mike Held, co-owner and business manager of Team Gordon. "The sponsorship hook has been cast and we'll have to see what we catch. What's most important, however, is that Robby's going to have another shot at winning the 500, regardless. He deserves that shot after we took it from him last year."
With Gordon's entry to the 500, he becomes the only driver to tackle the "Double Duty" in 2000, driving both the Indy 500 and NASCAR's Coca Cola 600. Gordon attempted the same feat in 1997 with Sabco Racing, but due to a rain delay at Indianapolis Gordon was only able to run the Cup race as scheduled. He then finished the Indy 500 later in the week.
"A few people have asked me how endurance will come into play over the weekend," said Gordon. "I guess after seeing how worn out Tony was last year at the end of the 600, I can understand the question. But I'm used to running long races. Hydration and good shape are the keys. I drive the Baja 1000 every year and that takes 17 hours of dusty, pounding, dirty work without ever leaving the driver seat. At least I'll get a couple hours of fresh air between races."