Darlington, South Carolina. (March 17, 2000) Â Robby Gordon doesn't believe in superstition. Luck is luck and there's usually enough of both, good and bad, to cancel each other out. So don't look for a green car in the Team Gordon garage at ...
Darlington, South Carolina. (March 17, 2000) Robby Gordon doesn't believe in superstition. Luck is luck and there's usually enough of both, good and bad, to cancel each other out. So don't look for a green car in the Team Gordon garage at Darlington this weekend to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Gordon hopes to erase the memories of last weekend's rain, which took away his chance to put the #13 Menards/Duracell Ford in the race at Atlanta, with hard work, not a lucky charm.
"I hate to say it, but today, Robby Gordon is not the best Darlington race car driver out there," smiled Gordon, who currently sits 31st in the Winston Cup points standings. "Lets hope that changes by the time qualifying rolls around though! But seriously, I raced here twice in 1997 and it's really unlike any other track we visit. It's narrow and the line is all over the track due to the way the banking was built. It definitely takes time to learn how to get around this place. Like Rockingham, I'm going to have to dig down in qualifying to come up with that flying lap."
Gordon is currently testing at Bristol (Wed. and Thurs.), yet another tough track which follows the race in Darlington. The two-day test is designed to give Gordon more of a feel for the short tracks, gain data on the Ford Taurus, and part of an early season test schedule developed to help jump-start the learning process.
"There's no question that when we test at a track, we roll out of the truck ahead of the game," said Gordon. "Especially for a young team, the testing is very important. We're not only gathering data, but also working to become more of a team. The testing gives us a baseline that most of the teams already have written in a book that's stored in the transporter. We're trying to build that book because we plan on being here awhile. There are some smart people working in this operation, if you give them an inch, they'll take a mile and make something happen. Obviously weather and track conditions change from test to race, but having standard setup knowledge from a track coming into a race weekend is key."
"It's not just the guys either, it's me too. I enjoy the chance to get accustomed to these tracks so I can know where my limits are as a driver, " explained Gordon, whose last trip to Darlington in '97 netted him a 22nd place finish. "I mentioned the driving line here - it's crazy! As you come into the corner you enter low, then rise back in the middle and exit low. It's not a traditional, drop-off-the-wall-to-apex corner situation. I'll have my hands full. And since we didn't test here, it's going to be a fast and furious Friday. I need to get up to speed as fast I can so the engineers can do their jobs with proper feedback."
Practice for Sunday's Mall.com 400 from Darlington begins Friday at 11am EST, with qualifying slated for 3:30pm.