CART: Robby Gordon enters agreement with Irvan/Simo Racing

ANAHEIM, Calif. (Nov. 23, 1999) ­ On the heels of last week’s revelation that Team Gordon is moving to the NASCAR Winston Cup series in 2000, Robby Gordon today announced he has entered into a relationship with Irvan-Simo Racing that allows...

ANAHEIM, Calif. (Nov. 23, 1999) ­ On the heels of last week’s revelation that Team Gordon is moving to the NASCAR Winston Cup series in 2000, Robby Gordon today announced he has entered into a relationship with Irvan-Simo Racing that allows use of all Irvan-Simo assets next season, with an option for 2001, while Team Gordon constructs its own, new North Carolina facility.

Those Irvan-Simo Racing assets include the Mooresville, N.C., facility, equipment, cars, employees and a merchandising program through the Mark Simo-owned action apparel company, No Fear.

Team Gordon also announced plans to campaign the Ford Taurus for the upcoming season. The car will use "lucky" number 13, a number it is hoped Winston Cup fans will embrace.

"We're answering some of the questions people had last week," said Gordon, referring to his team's press announcement in Atlanta Friday. "Nothing happens overnight, and we realize that. But we do have a year of putting together a (CART) team under our belt and we did learn quite a few things. What this relationship does is put us in business today. Today. That means if we wanted to test the our #13 Ford Taurus tomorrow, we’re ready."

The Irvan-Simo relationship also extends Gordon's association with Mark Simo and No Fear, which will assemble and operate the team's merchandise program, both trackside and in retail outlets.

"For Team Gordon, this really made the most sense, especially this late in the game," said Team Gordon co-owner Mike Held. "We were both very impressed with the Irvan-Simo facility and it extends a relationship we already have with Mark Simo and No Fear and Spy Optic. Not only will we have the shop, cars and people, but we will also have a strong merchandising program ready to go for Daytona. It's coming together for us and each day gets more and more exciting."

On the racing front, Ernie Irvan comes on board as an advisor to Gordon and co-owners Held and John Menard. His role will be as a mentor, to ease the transition from the CART series, where Team Gordon successfully debuted in 1999, to the extremely competitive 34-race Winston Cup schedule.

Lee Morse, Irvan-Simo Racing president, will lead the ship, rekindling a relationship Gordon had with Morse during his sedan years with the Ford Motor Company.

"Lee was one of the keys to my transition from dirt to pavement in the early 1990s when I signed with Ford," said Gordon, who has raced Ford Champ Cars, Off-Road Trucks, as well as Trans Am and Winston Cup cars through 1996. "Having Lee and Ernie (Irvan) will be a big boost of experience and knowledge for us in the tough times, but they'll also be there to help us with the good times, and it's our goal to have as many good times as possible!"

The team is also working on one of the last pieces to the puzzle – hiring a crew chief to couple with Jerry Baxter and Doug Louth. An announcement is expected in the next two weeks.

"Really, we're left with one more vacancy and that's the crew chief," said Held. "There are a few good candidates on our plate and they've got Thanksgiving to digest our proposals. But outside of that we're very happy to have our operation up and running right now with Irvan-Simo. It makes for a more enjoyable holiday now that we have that nailed down."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Ernie Irvan , Robby Gordon