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Gordon Finishes Third in Baja 1000

WELCOME, N.C. (Nov. 22, 2002) — Robby Gordon drove to a third-place finish in the Trophy Truck class of the Baja 1000 late Thursday night after holding a 10-minute lead on the field earlier in the event.

In a solo drive, Gordon completed the 1,017-mile survival race through Baja California, Mexico, in 18 hours, 32 minutes and four seconds. The 33-year-old grabbed the lead (leading all classes in the Baja 1000) about 120 miles into the desert race but gave it up at mile marker 350 to work on a wheel bearing problem his No. 31 Trophy Truck had suffered.

“I was about 10 minutes ahead of the second place car when the wheel bearing began leaking oil out of the left-rear hub seal and shooting oil back onto the rear brakes,” Gordon said. “I spent about an hour taking the entire thing apart and realized I needed another hub but there were no hubs at that particular pit stop on the course. So, we put it back together and kept going the rest of the race.”

Gordon said he continued to add gear oil to the truck each time he made a scheduled pit stop and did not lose much extra time on those pit stops. His disadvantage was that the leaking oil hurt the rear brakes on the Trophy Truck.

“Losing the rear brakes cost me some time on the course but stopping for that hour is what really hurt me,” he explained. “Plus, when you’re leading, you’re kicking up dust for the truck behind you and it takes about a minute for the dust to settle in between cars. That’s a one-minute advantage over each car behind me that I gave up when I made that stop to check on the wheel bearing. We had a really good shot at winning the Baja 1000 this year and I’m really disappointed it shook out like it did. But it was a ton of fun and that’s what it’s all about.”

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