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Event Preview Fact Sheet

Event/Date: Checker Auto Parts 500/Nov. 2, 2003
Venue: Phoenix International Raceway

Robby Gordon’s NASCAR Winston Cup Performance History at Phoenix International Raceway
Laps Completed/

Date Start Finish Total Laps Status
11/10/02 9 27 310/312 Running
10/28/01 42 7 312/312 Running
11/5/00 DNQ
10/27/96 32 42 134/312 Accident

TOTALS Avg. Start: 27.66 Avg. Finish: 25.33 Laps: 756/936 Money: $174,345

NASCAR Winston Cup Points Position: 16th


  • This Week’s Race Car (chassis No. 118) was last run as a No. 30 AOL Chevrolet chassis at Loudon in September and Pocono in July
  • Gordon tested this car at Phoenix Oct. 21-22
  • Gordon is taking his Robby Gordon Off-Road built sand-car to Phoenix (which he will use to pre-run the Baja 1000 course) He will race his actual trophy truck in the Baja 1000 as the No. 31 Red Bull Trophy Truck.
  • Gordon will pre-run the Baja 1000 course Nov. 17-19
  • Gordon drew the 20th starting position for the Baja 1000
  • Gordon won the April 1995 PPG Indycar World Series at Phoenix
  • Gordon started seventh and finished seventh in the April 1994 CART race at Phoenix
  • The Checker Auto Parts 500 will be broadcast live on NBC and MRN on Sunday, Nov. 2 at 3:30 p.m. EDT. Qualifying is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 31 at 4:05 p.m. EDT.


"The Cingular Wireless team tested at Phoenix a couple of weeks ago. We worked on a lot of race car stuff, such as simply changing things around and trying to get a feel for what did what to our race car. We tried different springs, different spindles and pretty much everything you can think of. We made incremental changes just so we’ll have a baseline during race weekend that will help us tune the car in just a little bit quicker.

"I do not feel as good about the test as I would have liked because a couple of the cars ran a little better than we did, but hopefully, we can turn around what we learned and make a good race package out of it.

"Phoenix is one of my favorite tracks on the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit. I won a CART race at Phoenix a few years ago. I’ve always liked Phoenix because it’s a lot of fun to race on. There are two lines, maybe three at times. There are a lot of opportunities to pass at Phoenix, especially if you are on the high groove. I think there might be some opportunities for passing coming off turn two now, where before we had to go one at a time. The 12 feet of extra space makes a huge difference in what we will be able to do there.

"Phoenix is a pretty flat track and the Cingular team tends to do well on flat tracks. Loudon is another flat track but it’s different than Phoenix. The straightaways at Phoenix aren’t as long as at New Hampshire. Loudon has long straightaways and sharp corners. Phoenix is kind of a tri-oval the way it goes through the back straight. It’s a lot of fun.

"Phoenix has changed so much the past 15 years. The place has really come a long way. As far as these changes, it’s about half a second faster than it used to be. We pick up the speed was coming off turn two now that we don’t have that wall to hold us down. It makes a very big difference.

"The other big change is around that new patch where the tunnel is in turn four. Right now, it has a lot of grip, but the Cingular Wireless Chevrolet didn’t deal with it very well in our test. That patch isn’t that bad. We pushed it some and kind of got sideways during the test when we went to power, but when I got on the patch, it straightened the car right up. Once I figure that out, it can actually work for us.

"I think it’s great that tracks will do things to make it better for drivers and fans. This track has obviously done a few things the past couple of years to enhance the fan experience. I know a few years back, they opened up free parking and everyone thought they were crazy because only a handful of people parked there. Now it’s packed. I like to see tracks make changes.

"Phoenix has a different atmosphere than other tracks. It’s Arizona, after all. I know that there are many people from many different states, but the people go to Phoenix for a good time, and not just a good race. This event comes at a great time in the schedule, especially for the Cingular team. There is something about the area that allows us to relax more and have a good time. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of the guys head out there early to take advantage of the area. I will.

"I would be in favor of a second raced date at Phoenix because it’s close to California. I still have a house out in Orange and I don’t get out there very often. If there is another race in Phoenix, it needs to be at night because it will really enhance the experience for the fans here. You think they love the race now, just wait until they see one at night."