Talladega, Alabama (April 13, 2000) To say Robby Gordon has had a rough few weeks on the track would be a good-sized understatement. Tough runs at Bristol and Martinsville have left Gordon's short-track Fords in the body shop looking for new...
Talladega, Alabama (April 13, 2000) To say Robby Gordon has had a rough few weeks on the track would be a good-sized understatement. Tough runs at Bristol and Martinsville have left Gordon's short-track Fords in the body shop looking for new panels while Gordon switches his attention to the high speeds and heavy drafting of Superspeedway racing.
It's a welcome change of venue for Gordon, happy to come to the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway where he can let his car breathe and not worry about having to crawl through corners at less than 80mph like he did in last Sunday's race at the Martinsville Speedway. Gordon expects to be much more competitive this weekend, and for a variety of reasons, not the least of which because he's ready to permanently put the right foot in the floor.
"I can't wait to get to Talladega and get as far away from Martinsville as possible," said an animated Robby Gordon, who finished 40th after a late race incident took the sails out of a strong run. "Nothing against Martinsville, but I got beat up there. Like Bristol, we knew we'd take our lumps, so the key for us was to run as many laps as we could and get a feel for the second go-around later in the year. It takes some getting used to running 500 laps around a half-mile bullring like that. But those races are out of the way for now; we learned a ton, now it's time to get into drafting and double our speed at Talladega. I have quite a bit of short track frustration to unload this weekend!"
As the season moves into it's ninth race, Team Gordon faces a change for Talladega as NASCAR tries to improve the Superspeedway racing by allowing teams to use their own front shocks instead of the standardized shocks used at the other Superspeedway in Daytona, Florida. Restrictor plates have also been changed, cutting down the amount of power motors will produce, ever so slightly. As a first-year team without a deep notebook, you might ask; how does this effect Team Gordon?
"NASCAR made a few changes for us this weekend from what they learned at Daytona," added Gordon, whose first and only start at Talladega was in 1993 as a replacement for the late Davey Allison in Robert Yates Racing's #28 car. "How does it effect us? Honestly, for us, it doesn't help us and it doesn't really hurt us. If anything, it's leaning on hurting us because we did test here early in the season, but with shock rules that were in place for Daytona. I know some teams have had an opportunity to test the new package, we haven't. But from what I've heard there isn't much if any speed to gain with the new regulation. I imagine we need to be very careful with the front shock adjustment though. Too much shock in the front is going to pitch the spoiler in the back and create drag, so we want to be real sensitive to what we do there.
"Basically, we've taken what we learned at Daytona and really focused on the body of our car and making sure it's better aerodynamically. I think if we can get a little bit better in aero and add some horsepower, which we've been working to do, we'll be as competitive, if not more competitive than we were at the Daytona 500 and that should make for a good result."
In other Team Gordon news, it will be announced next week that Robby Gordon's Menards/Duracell Ford Taurus will carry a special promotional paint scheme for the Fontana and Richmond races. Stay tuned.