Sears Point: Robby Gordon preview

NOTES: * This Week's Race Car at Infineon Raceway (Chassis No. 117 ) is the same race car that helped Gordon become known as "King of the Road," in 2003 by helping him sweep both road course races, winning at Infineon Raceway in June and Watkins...


* This Week's Race Car at Infineon Raceway (Chassis No. 117 ) is the same race car that helped Gordon become known as "King of the Road," in 2003 by helping him sweep both road course races, winning at Infineon Raceway in June and Watkins Glen in August. * Testing the course ... Gordon and the No. 31 Cingular Wireless team tested at Infineon Raceway with chassis No. 117 June 8 in preparation for the Dodge/Save Mart 350.

* Cal Wells charity event in Sonoma ... Gordon will take part in the Cal Wells' charity event to benefit the Eldridge Foundation and developmentally-disabled adults Thurs., June 24, at the Veterans Building in downtown Sonoma, Calif. Gordon, Wells and Ricky Craven will be present to sign autographs and meet with attendees from 6:30 to 7 p.m. PST.

* Inglebright looking for AOL win ... Southwest Series driver Jim Inglebright will pilot the No. 30 AOL Chevrolet this weekend at Infineon. Inglebright tested at Infineon earlier this month with Robby Gordon, June 8, to prepare for the Dodge/Save Mart 350. Inglebright, 43, a regular on the NASCAR Elite Division, Southwest Series, has eight wins in 96 starts, including three straight victories at Infineon Raceway (2000-2002). He finished fourth in the 2003 event. He also ran a limited Craftsman Truck Series schedule during the 2000 and 2001 seasons, posting one top-10 in 17 starts.

* Catch the action ... the Dodge/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Cup race will broadcast live at 4 p.m. ET Sunday, June 27, on Fox, PRN and XM Radio. Qualifying for the Dodge/Save Mart 350 will broadcast live at 6 p.m. Friday, June 25, on SPEED, PRN and XM Radio.

Team Cingular Quotes:

R. Gordon on racing at Infineon Raceway:

"It is always good to go back to Infineon. It is beautiful out there and I am from California, so I spent a lot of time in that area earlier in my career.

"The one thing I remember most about winning at Infineon last year is the fact we cruised all day long and it sounds crazy, but we didn't have to run hard. It was because the car handled good and we just paced ourselves and took care of the tires.

"Having success on the road course this weekend is going to be just like any other weekend. I think it takes a good car, which ours is one that was built back in 2000, and we have just continued to advance and improve with it. Road racing does bring the driver out a bit more, but there are a lot of things that also come into play. You have to have a pit crew that can get you in and out of the pits without losing five positions. You have to get good fuel mileage, manage your tires and maintain track position. The fastest car doesn't always win the race. It is about being on top of your game across the board to win the race.

"With road courses, you can't drive into the corner really deep. It is better to slow down early and be on the gas all the way through the corner accelerating and try not to skid the car very much. It is a continuous learning curve, but I feel my crew chief Chris Andrews and the entire Cingular Wireless team has it down to science right now. I believe we know when to run and how far to run ahead of the guys."

R. Gordon on testing at Infineon:

"We tested there earlier this month and the race track is obviously continuing to make improvements for the fans and competitors. They went as far as moving a few mountains out of the way. The race track appears to be the same except for the new smooth asphalt. I think that is why our times were a bit quicker during the test session. At first, when we got out there the track was not a lot faster, but we

ran race trim most of the day. We were about two- to three-tenths faster in the race trim than I qualified last year in qualifying trim. Toward the end of the day, we got out our qualifying trim and ran a 15.90, so that was pretty impressive and a good way to wrap up a long day of testing.

"We are pretty confident we have the road course game dialed in, but there is always room for improvement. Some people asked me why we were going out there to test, but it just made sense. Practice makes perfect. Right? Plus, we work all year long turning left, and to get one of the 3,400-pound stock cars to turn right is completely different and it also just helped me get back into the shifting groove.

We played with gear boxes and transmissions while we were out there and that is one favor on our side. We have a good baseline that won both races last year to fall back on. We are just trying to improve from that and you always have to keep improving in this sport. The minute you let up, a bunch of them will pass you real quick because it is just that competitive.

"This weekend is going to be important for Team Cingular because it could help us move up a bit in the standings, where some of the other drivers currently ranked higher than us tend to struggle on road courses. So, if everything plays in our favor, we could make up 40 to 50 points on some of those top guys right now. If you look at two races like that and add them together, with Watkins Glen coming up, that could mean almost 100 additional points from where we are right. For us, we are in a situation where we got off to a bad start by crashing at Daytona and Rockingham at the beginning of the year. So, we have been trying to come back every weekend, and it always seems like when you get behind, you end up making more mistakes because you are trying so much harder."

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Robby Gordon , Ricky Craven