Ford Racing June 24, 2001 Sears Point Raceway ROBBY GORDON --7-- NationsRent Taurus (Finished 2nd) -- POST-RACE PRESS CONFERENCE "It was a good day for us. To come in on a one-off deal. You know, everybody wants to play me as this Winston...
June 24, 2001
Sears Point Raceway
ROBBY GORDON --7-- NationsRent Taurus (Finished 2nd) -- POST-RACE PRESS CONFERENCE
"It was a good day for us. To come in on a one-off deal. You know, everybody wants to play me as this Winston Cup road-race guy, but I was on the front row at Indianapolis a couple of weeks ago and led laps there and we ran in the top five at Daytona this year. I just think that everytime I get a good opportunity to showcase my driving, it helps out. We had a really good car today. The guys did an excellent job in the pits. The truck team came over and pitted us. They're not Winston Cup regulars pitting Winston Cup cars, so for them to keep us in the top five in the pits, I was very excited about that. I felt that we definitely had the car to beat. I didn't anticipate Harvick knocking me sideways, but I guess that's why they call it racing and Tony slipped by both of us then."
DID YOU THINK OF LETTING HARVICK GO?
"That's a tricky question. What I was thinking and what happened were obviously a little different. I knew I was gonna be racing with Kevin. I teamed up with him at Watkins Glen on the same team and I thought he would race me clean and if I could keep him between me and Tony, that would keep one of the guys for position from making jabs at me. I didn't anticipate it coming from Kevin, but it's racing, it's okay. We obviously didn't have a good enough car at that point. I was spinning tires coming off the corners. I was better than Tony, but I don't think we were as good as Kevin was on new tires. I knew at the end there, I overdrove it a couple of times. I had an opportunity down in turn seven on the last lap and started to lock up the front tires, so I figured I would wait over here until turn 10 and I just dropped the right-front tire and hit the rumble strip going into 10 and didn't have a good enough opportunity to get Tony going into 11. We had a good race. Tony drove a good race. He doesn't have a whole bunch of road-racing experience. Most of his stuff was on ovals, but he had a clean race and congratulations to those guys. I'm really proud of the Jimmy Smith team with NationsRent."
DID YOUR SPOTTERS TRY TO COMMUNICATE WORKING TOGETHER?
"My biggest thing is, even if he had his lap back did he honestly think that he would catch us to race us for the win? I mean, he would have been 30 cars behind us. I honestly didn't think that he would knock me sideways and he didn't just do it once, he did it about four times, so it's okay."
DID YOU CONSIDER LETTING HARVICK PASS YOU ON ONE PART OF THE TRACK AND STILL BE ABLE TO KEEP A GOOD LEAD ON STEWART?
"I thought we could cut a deal with 'em down in the pits. We had guys in their pit and I didn't know how long it would take to go back and forth. Like I said, it's just not that big of a deal. We had our best run of the year. I know he was racing for points and he was trying to get his lap back to get as many guys as he could in case a caution came out, but he didn't get his caution anyway."
IF YOU HAD TO DO IT OVER AGAIN WOULD YOU LET HIM PASS?
"I think when you're a race car driver and you can put a lapped car between you and second place, and you're waiting for your spotters to negotiate a deal like these guys do down here in Winston Cup all the time, I thought with us gonna be on the same team in a couple weeks, we could have negotiated something. So, I would have done the same thing and waited for the spotter to get down and try to cut a deal with Richard."
WHAT DOES THIS DO FOR YOUR MINDSET CAREER-WISE?
"Hopefully, you guys will get off of me a little bit. You guys have been riding me pretty hard after the last deal. We were on the front row at Indianapolis, we led laps there. I think the most important thing for me right now is to get in good, competitive cars and showcase my ability and let the actions on the track speak."
DID RACING HARVICK SO HARD HURT YOUR REAR TIRES?
"I don't know. Tony was just as sideways as I was. Track position is everything here. It's just so hard to pass. If he had no mercy for me, he had no mercy for me, but that's okay. We're gonna race together again in the future."
DID YOU SEE TONY COME AROUND AND PASS?
"I knew Kevin knocked me sideways and I honestly didn't anticipate Tony to get by both of us. I thought he would be on the inside. He must have been on the outside of us as I was protecting the inside in turn seven. Me not seeing the race on TV, he just have been equal to Kevin going into seven and railed around the outside of Kevin. It's just not that big of a deal. We had a good result. Obviously, I'm a little disappointed, but there are many more races in the future."