Watkins Glen, New York. (August 9, 2000) Â Robby Gordon drove perhaps the best Winston Cup race of his career at Watkins Glen in 1997. He finished fourth with Team Sabco, but his biggest memory is what could have been if not for an early...
Watkins Glen, New York. (August 9, 2000) Robby Gordon drove perhaps the best Winston Cup race of his career at Watkins Glen in 1997. He finished fourth with Team Sabco, but his biggest memory is what could have been if not for an early black flag that sent him to the back of the field. It¹s a black flag Robby would like to turn to a checkered flag this Sunday in the Global Crossing at the Glen.
"Am I bitter about the black flag? A little," mused Gordon, who has top-10 finishes in two of the last three Winston Cup road course races he¹s run in, including a ninth-place at Sears Point this last June. "I¹m bitter because we had a legitimate chance to win. I was lined up fourth for a restart and instead of tucking in behind the car in front of me, I just popped out to the right so I could get a clean line by him into the first corner. It¹s something I found you can do on the outside, just not on the inside and the flagman didn¹t like it so we had to go to the back of the field. You live and learn, and I learned there, I¹ll be staying in line this weekend. But even with the flag, we still managed to work our way back finish fourth."
Watkins Glen represents a little bit different challenge than NASCAR¹s other road course, Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma, California. As Gordon explains, Watkins Glen is a faster track with less braking and of course, "The Bus Stop."
"Personally, I think I have a better handle on Watkins than I do Sears Point. At Watkins it¹s a lot faster all the way around and there are a few more places to pass. What I like about Watkins is that you can make up for some of the little things you might be missing by being brave. At Sears it¹s pretty technical and if the car isn¹t right going up the hill or under braking you¹re not going to have a good day. At Watkins you can take some chances and run it more on the edge if you have to make up time. The key though is really that "bus stop." Making it through there smoothly can make or break a lap. Watkins is a great place to race, when the car is right you can a lot of fun up there, and after last weekend I¹m definitely ready to race and have some fun."
This weekend Team Gordon¹s Menards/TurtleWax/Duracell Ford Taurus will take on a new look just for Watkins Glen, highlighting team sponsor Sony Electronics. In place of neon orange, Gordon¹s car will sport a purple, black and white paint scheme designed by Sony. It¹s all part of an effort to promote the Sony TechPit product display trailer which is currently touring all of the NASCAR Winston Cup events. The logo of Wega, Sony¹s state-of-the-art, flat-screen televisions will be featured on the hood with the familiar Sony logo in white on the quarter panels.
"Sony has been so good to us, especially as we¹ve struggled the last few races, they¹ve been very supportive so we wanted give something back and also make people aware of the fantastic TechPit display," said Mike Held, co-owner of Team Gordon. "Everyone on this team has kind of a bad taste in their mouth after Indy, we¹re all looking to take it out on Watkins Glen and have an excellent result. Robby¹s a great road racer and this team learned a lot at Sears Point about strategy, fuel mileage and making the car last on this type of track. If we can put all the pieces together I think we¹re capable of big things this weekend."
For a sneak preview of Robby Gordon¹s car for Watkins Glen, check www.teamgordon.com Thursday for pictures.
Robby Gordon¹s NASCAR road racing stats:
1997 Qualify Finish Sears Point 18 41 Watkins Glen 10 4
1998 Sears Point 18 37*
2000 Sears Point 11 9* *- led laps