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2/19/2001 – Robby Gordon Involved in 16-car Daytona 500 wreck

 

Daytona 500 – 2/18/01

Starting Position – 41st

Finishing Position – 37th

In a day everyone will remember for the death of a legend, Dale Earnhardt, Robby Gordon finished 37th in the 43rd running of the Daytona 500.

Gordon started 41st in hi s Kodak/CD2 Chevrolet, taking a provisional position on the grid after an engine failure in Thursday’s Twin-125 qualifying race. From the start, Gordon took a patient approach to the 500-mile event. Through the first 100 laps he stayed put, consistently running mid-pack. It wasn’t until late in the race when Gordon began to make his charge to the front.

Using the draft lines high and low, Gordon was listed in 12th-place on lap 160. His position would vary from lap to lap depending on the strength of his draft line. On lap 173, Gordon tucked in behind Tony Stewart with Ward Burton in alongside. The three made a beeline to the front trying to take over the lead draft. Coming out of turn two, however, Burton’s Dodge appeared to get loose, causing Gordon to hit him from behind. Burton couldn’t recover and veered into the right side of Stewart’s Pontiac setting off a chain-reaction wreck that ultimately reeled in 16 other cars.

When Burton hit Stewart, his car immediately turned right on the long back straight in front of Gordon flying high in the air and landing on Gordon, then tumbling down the track until finally resting on the infield grass. Stewart was unhurt, as was the rest of the field involved in the incident.

Robby Gordon quote:

"It’s hard to even comment on the wreck we were in when you lose a guy like Dale Earnhardt – does it really matter right now?" said Gordon. "I said this back in 1999 when we lost Greg Moore in CART and I’ll say it again, "Guys like that aren’t supposed to die, they’re studs in racing." It just makes you think a little deeper about what we do. You never really think about crashing when you strap in to the car, much less what happened to Dale. But you see this and really think. It is dangerous, it always has been. That’s racing. It’s just tough to lose someone, anyone.

"Dale was the best. I remember running with him in IROC and learning about bump-drafting. That was some of the most fun racing I’ve ever been a part of. He was "The Intimidator," no question about it, but he was awesome. You think of all the talent he had, plus all the experience, and he still had that fire on the track. Even at his age. Think about it, at 49, he was second in the points last year. That’s big.

"He was the man. I’m going to miss him."

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©2001 Robby Gordon.