Robby Gordon, No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo (first career Winston Cup race win), Richard Childress, owner of Richard Childress Racing, and Gil Martin, crew chief. Robby Gordon On the day: "We knew we had a really good car today.
Robby Gordon, No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo (first career Winston Cup race win), Richard Childress, owner of Richard Childress Racing, and Gil Martin, crew chief.
On the day: "We knew we had a really good car today. We started way back so we didn't get to lead a lot of laps. Gil (Martin) made some incredible calls in the pits. We took two tires sometimes. Sometimes four. We kept freeing up the car because everyone was blistering the right front. I was trying to make the car looser. Our car was best on the first 15 or 20 laps on a run. When everybody came in for tires and I was the first car out with four tires, I knew we were in good shape."
On the "lap 285" pass: "It's what they called racing. The No. 12 car checked up and (Jeff) Gordon got by me when the No. 45 blocked me. I didn't get that one. I think he was at least two or three laps down. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe he was trying to get back on the lead lap. But he ran me all the way to the grass. I didn't understand that. Maybe he didn't know I was there or maybe he was mad that I was pushing so hard trying to get through traffic. But I knew we had to get through those lapped cars because Jeff was better on the long runs and we were better on the short runs - kind of like Phoenix."
On a win for Lowe's: "This was the last race of a five-year contract and I'm really happy that Robby could get this race for Lowe's. It's a good way to leave a good relationship that we've had for the last five years. What can you say about Robby Gordon? A lot of people wondered, "Why Robby?" I think today proved that he's not only good on a road course, but he has a tremendous amount of talent. If we keep a car under him, he's got the talent to win a lot of races."
On the win: "Today was pretty good as far as our pit strategy. We talked about it before the race and it actually worked for a change. I was pretty excited about that. We brought some old tires with us from Martinsville and we started bolting those on the last three stops of the day and those tires didn't blister like everything else did. I think that was the difference in our day."
Did you have any close encounters today? "We had a plan coming in. After practice, we felt we had a car to win the race. Our plan was similar to Watkins Glen. I just rode around for the first 90 percent of the race and about the last 25, when that caution came out, we bumped it up to 100 percent and run hard and it paid off. In Winston Cup, you've got to be there to win races. We were there at the right time. I kept complaining to Gil (Martin) where I was having problems. And he takes it and adjusts it and makes the right decisions. That keeps me calmed down. Like Richard says, it's always easier to pull me back than to kick me to go. They did a good job keeping me controlled."
On Jeff Gordon's retaliation on lap 286: "I didn't expect that from Jeff Gordon, to be honest. I really didn't. I didn't wreck him. I can see if I had wrecked him and hit the wall. But he had a car still good enough to win the race. He took himself out of the race. Once he ran into me, if he didn't wreck me, I knew there was no other car out here that was as fast because I felt his was the only car that was. I got into him a little bit. I didn't spin him. I just moved him up the racetrack a little bit. I've heard a lot of people over the years call that 'racing'. But I had to go. I didn't mean to get into him. Once the No. 12 car got sideways, he (Jeff Gordon) got on the brakes because that was the car in front of me - I wasn't really focusing on the No. 12 car, I was focusing on the No. 24 car. I got into him but I didn't hit him hard. I just barely got into him."
On the irony of today and how things went your way instead of against him: "I'm just proud that Richard (Childress) believed in me. He point-blank asked me if I could win on an oval. I told him we can win on an oval if we can get the car to where I can live with the balance. My road course driving showed him that I can do that. I think we showed a lot of people that we can get to Victory Lane with a Winston Cup car. The last two races - Phoenix and here - we've been in the position to win. We were snake-bit for a while. There were many times I should have pulled a Winston Cup car into Victory Lane this year, like Sears Point. At Watkins Glen, we were by far the strongest car there. To finally get it in 2001 and to build for next year with our new sponsor Cingular and my new crew chief, Gil Martin, I think we'll be a lot stronger when we roll out at Daytona."
Were you waiting for something weird to happen in the last few laps? "I haven't won a race in six years - since the Detroit CART race. I've come close to winning the Indy 500 but ran out of fuel on the last lap. When I saw that white flag come out, you start hearing all kind of weird noises. When we came off of turn four, and we were pulling strong, I was really ecstatic."
How would you classify your style of driving? "That's tough. There are so many people that I'd like to follow in their footsteps. I think Tony (Stewart) and I are similar. We're both real hungry. I'm miserable when we don't run good. I heard a lot of people say over the years that you can't be that aggressive with a Winston Cup car. But I think Richard is working with me. I charge hard and if he sees me getting out of control, we'll talk about it."
How have your experiences like losing Indy on the last lap prepare you for your win today? "I think it makes you appreciate it more. I've struggled in Winston Cup. A lot of people doubted me. I had to do a lot of talking to Richard to convince him to take me and believe in me when I told him I could win races on an oval."
Why did you decide to bring old tires to this race? "I just decided to save Richard some money. Really, we were concerned about the problem of blistering tires up here anyway because we knew the Martinsville tires were much softer. We knew the ones we had in the shop had cured a little more and they were a little harder. So we brought four sets with us for just such an occasion. It paid off."
On the challenge on pulling off a one-day set-up, practice, and race? "I think actually, the Winston Cup Series is sort of evolving back to the Busch Series and that's where we've been so strong this year with Kevin (Harvick) and all the drivers we've had in the No. 21 car and we had a really good set-up up here for both of those cars. We put that same set-up in this car and we unloaded it and didn't touch the car. The only thing we did today was put tires on it.
Did anyone else use Martinsville tires today? "I have no idea."
Did you have any trouble with the fresher tires early in the race? "I think we did just like everybody else did. The tires were chunking out pretty bad. It was just according to how the car was and how the balance was. If you were tight, you were losing a right front. If you were loose, you were losing a right rear. As we went to the other tires, we still had some of that same situation but it wasn't nearly as bad. We were able to go about 60 laps there at the end and I think that was the difference. We were able to push that from 40 laps to closer to 60 or 65."
On the Jeff Gordon comment that Robby should be embarrassed: "Embarrassed? I just won a Winston Cup race. I am so proud of all the guys and everybody involved - and everybody at corporate Lowe's - for giving me the opportunity. They had the choice to say no when Richard called and asked if I could fill-in for Mike Skinner. They said they'd go for it even though they knew I was a little edgy. For Jeff to say I'm embarrassed, I think he should be embarrassed for retaliating the way he did. We could have had a little conversation after the race. He took himself out of the race. He could have taken me out as well. I didn't wreck him. I just got into him a little bit."
Since you have so much road course experience, is it better that your first Winston Cup win came on an oval? "My first win in an Indy Car came on an oval at Phoenix as well. I haven't done the research on it but I'm pretty sure I have under 100 races in a Winston Cup car on an oval in my whole life. So to pull into Victory Lane in a Winston Cup car in an oval makes me really proud."
Richard Childress On a tough start and then winning with both Kevin Harvick and Robby Gordon at the end: "This just shows the caliber of people at RCR. Going back to last week, we made a big announcement with Cingular and yet we missed the race. That's the same car that we missed a race with at Charlotte. Robby is going to buy it and make it a show car.
"We started off on the lowest low. To come back and win a race with Robby Gordon on an oval here is a tremendous high. But nothing will ever fill the void that will always be there for all of us."
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