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Jim Beam Racing Richmond Preview
Posted on May 10, 2005, 16:37

Pre-Race Report

Jim Beam Racing/Robby Gordon Motorsports

No. 7 Jim Beam Chevrolet

Chevy American Revolution 400

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Race 11/36

Huntersville, NC (May 11, 2005) – Returning to Richmond International Raceway, a track where Robby Gordon has traditionally enjoyed success, may be what the doctor ordered for the No. 7 Jim Beam Chevrolet. Last season Gordon qualified 6th for the Chevy American Revolution 400 only to suffer a cut tire on the opening lap, leading to a 24th place finish. Two years ago he fell four laps down to the leaders after cutting a tire, only to make up all four laps in a heroic effort, nearly winning the race. And last season, in the Emerson Radio 250, Gordon won the race in his own car after starting third.

Pit Stops…

Sold out crowd – For the 27th time in Nextel Cup history, the Richmond International Raceway will have a sell out crowd of 107,097 fans for this weekend’s race “under the lights.”

New Leaders – A new crew chief and new team manager/car chief have joined the No. 7 team at RGM. Greg Erwin and Frank Kerr will assume these roles and make their debut this weekend in Richmond.

Gentlemen, start your engines! – The team is confident that Menard Engine Group has solved its early season engine issues, and is pleased with tests recently conducted at Lowe’s Motor Speedway as well as a number of dyno tests conducted in both Charlotte and Indianapolis.

Lights, camera, action – Jim Beam will unveil a public service announcement on Friday, May 13, at 4 p.m. in the pressroom at Richmond International Raceway. Robby Gordon teamed up with IRL driver Dan Wheldon of the Andretti Green Racing Team to tape a PSA about making sensible decisions relating to alcohol consumption. The PSA was produced to raise awareness of Jim Beam’s social responsibility platform, drink smart®.

Good $ for a Good CauseAs part of the drink smart® campaign, Robby Gordon Motorsports will donate $10,000 from a $100,000 fund provided by Jim Beam bourbon, the “Official Spirit of Racing,” to officials from Virginia State University. The check presentation will take place in the pressroom at Richmond International Raceway, Friday at 4 p.m. The donation will fund the University’s implementation of The Century Council’s Alcohol 101 PlusTM education program and related alcohol education activities.

TV and Radio – Start time for Saturday’s Chevy American Revolution 400 is 7:30 p.m. ET on FX. The pre-race show with Chris Myers and Jeff Hammond will start at 7:00 p.m. Radio coverage this weekend is on MRN Radio. The green flag is at 7:35 p.m. ET. Remember, times and dates are subject to change, so check your local listings.

Behind the wheel with Robby Gordon…

What do you do to keep your focus and not let unfortunate luck affect you or the team?

“I keep my focus by concentrating on one week at a time. If you dwell on how you finished last week or not qualifying for a race, you will never make it through the next race. In this business, you’ve got to finish the race, take some lessons from it and apply those lessons to the next race. That’s the only way to survive. Our team has struggled a bit this season, but we’re confident things will turn around for both our team and our sponsors, including Jim Beam and Harrah’s who will be on the car this weekend at Richmond.”

Qualifying seems to be a nail-biter each week. What do you and your crew need to do to improve your starting positions?

“I think you’re going to begin seeing a big improvement in this area. I don’t know that we’re ready to contend for poles, but we shouldn’t be sweating out qualifying either. Our engine package has come full circle, and I’m sure we’ll start seeing the results very quickly.”

How do you keep your team motivated after failing to qualifying two weeks in a row?

“It’s not easy, but knowing what kept us from qualifying in both cases is at least a small consolation. At Talladega we’re fairly confident it was a tuning issue in the engine, and at Darlington we know it was human error. Both issues have been addressed and on we go. The sad part is that we would have been a top-15 car in qualifying at Darlington, and maybe a top-10 car. We’ve made a few internal changes that have allowed us to open some lines of communication. Our new crew chief and team manager are great leaders, and we continue to have a lot of confidence in our race team.”

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