March 29, 2000
Q & A with Robby Gordon

Q: Texas is a track you ran in 1997 in Winston Cup, how does it stack up to Robby Gordon’s style of driving?

A: A track like Texas is similar to Las Vegas. The banking is greater, but we’re going in using our baseline setup from Vegas. For me personally, it’s a little more straight forward from a driving standpoint. A lot of the newer tracks are following the same basic design. What probably helps us the most about Texas is that it’s new, other teams don’t have hundreds of races under their belt there.

Q: How do you approach this track as opposed to going to Bristol or Darlington?

A: I think we approach it the same as any other track, just with a better starting point Friday morning. The last two races have been tough on us because we’ve faced a pretty steep learning curve. Bristol and Darlington are like no other places on earth. But they’ve been beneficial to the team in understanding the car and being better prepared.

Q: There have been some big, multiple car wrecks at Texas in the past. What are the keys to avoiding being involved in those wrecks?

A: Well, I was in that big crash in 1997 on the first lap. The best way to avoid the wrecks is obviously to start closer to the front. We run so close together and at such high speed, especially at a track like Texas, that one bad move by one person can take the entire field out. There’s a certain amount of finger-crossing that goes into the first corner with you at every track we visit! Everyone wants to get a hole shot and sometimes that creates a problem.

Q: You and your team have six races under your belt. What type of a grade do you give yourself right now, considering of course, that you’re a first-year team?

A: I give us a C-minus. And I’m a pretty hard grader when it comes to this stuff. We’ve made mistakes and the mistakes have cost us. We’ve had mistakes in preparation, I’ve made mistakes driving; they’ve been both on the track and off. But the mistakes in the last few races have been minimal, which is a great sign. Once they go away completely our ability to learn will only increase.

Q: If you had the opportunity to be a driver other than yourself for Texas this weekend, who would it be and why?

A: I’d be Bobby Labonte, hands down. He never seems to be weak anywhere we go. An off weekend for Bobby is finishing fourth or fifth and that’s the type of consistency that wins championships.

Q: For Team Gordon to win a race this season, what would it take, realistically?

A: Our best chance to win this season is going to come on one of the road courses, either Sears Point or Watkins Glen. Who knows though, it’s a long season maybe we can pull something off in the second half on an oval too.

Q: How tough is it to come to the track week in and week out and setup a car for both qualifying and the race?

A: It’s very hard. Last weekend we took a provisional spot even though we attempted second round qualifying. Looking back we probably would have been better off standing on our time and working Saturday morning on setup for the race. Sometimes you don’t have a choice though. The first thing is to get in the show. I don’t care how good your race setups are, if you aren’t in the race it doesn’t matter. Might as well take those setups home and beat your neighbor with them racing on a Play Station.