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Baja Pre-Run Notes

WELCOME, N.C. (Nov. 8, 2002) –Robby Gordon completed on Wednesday his first of two pre-run sessions in Baja California, Mexico, for the Nov. 21 SCORE/Tecate Baja 1000.

Gordon logged about 600 miles in his pre-run truck Nov. 4-6 along the lower portion of the 1,017-mile course in order to familiarize himself with the route. The two-time Baja 1000 champion pre-ran San Ignacio to La Parisma on Nov. 4th, La Parisma to La Paz the 5th and repeated La Parisma to La Paz the 6th.

Gordon tested his pre-run truck and does not plan to test the No. 31 Trophy Truck until next week’s session, scheduled for Nov. 11-12 along the lower portion of the Baja course.

“My test went pretty well last week,” Gordon said. “I had a problem with a distributor the first day and had to have one brought out to Baja. After that, the pre-run went flawlessly. We ran about 600 miles on the lower portion of the course. The course was amazingly fast and I think it will be a really fast, exciting race.”

Gordon said the final balance and set-up work on the No. 31 Trophy Truck was complete months ago because the track conditions are constant.

“The test was a function test, kind of like what the Winston Cup teams do in our first practices on Fridays,” Gordon explained. “It was just to make sure there are no oil leaks, the shocks don’t leak and the brakes actually stop. It was not a handling or set-up practice. The set-up doesn’t change in a Baja truck because the conditions don’t change. We run with a variety of conditions — pavement, dirt, rocks, gravel roads, water holes and mud. Although they’re different, the components don’t change. There is one set-up we use based on years of experience. We did all of our testing for this year’s Baja 1000 one year ago during testing and found a good balance for the truck.

“I know it sounds crazy, but the next time we change the set-up will be when I build a new truck. It’s a compromise set-up — I can make the truck a lot faster on the graded road but it won’t be as good on the bumps. I can make it faster on the bumps but it wouldn’t be very good on the pavement because it will roll around too much. You race it so different because you race so many different racing surfaces in the Baja.”

When Gordon completes Sunday’s Checker Auto Parts 500K at Phoenix International Raceway, he will board a plane for San Felipe for two additional days of pre-running. He will run from San Felipe to San Ignacio the 11th and San Ignacio to Loreto the 12th. SCORE International, the sanctioning body of the Baja 1000, does not allow the competitors to pre-run the first 36 miles of the course until Nov. 15, so Gordon most likely will pre-run from Ensenada to San Felipe Nov. 18.

Gordon is a legend in Baja after several SCORE championships and successful runs in the Baja 1000. He won the Baja 1000 in a solo drive in 1989 and in 1987 as a co-driver with his father.