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5/10/01 – Gordon Returns to Indy with AJ Foyt

SPEEDWAY, Ind., (May 10, 2001) – Robby Gordon knows a bit about the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The only thing he doesn¹t know is Victory Lane, something he hopes to take care of with AJ Foyt in his back pocket this year. Gordon is driving Foyt¹s #41 Conseco/CD2-sponsored Dallara/Oldsmobile, with his first job to qualify on the front row.

While it¹s not a big issue, Gordon has taken it somewhat personally the last two years not being able to start from the front row. In both 1999 and 2000, Gordon has posted speeds that have landed him on the inside of row two, or 4th-position. In both years it has been a Foyt car that has bumped him from that spot, Billy Boat in 1999, and teammate this year, Eliseo Salazar in 2000.

³I don¹t know what it is, but I figured I better get over to Foyt¹s team if I want to sit on the front row,² laughed Gordon. ³Maybe this year we can have both cars on the front row, or at a minimum I can do the bumping. Although, that spot on th inside of row two isn¹t a bad place to be for the start. Last year I had a good run on Greg (Ray) going into the first corner. We kind of played chicken, then decided it wasn¹t smart to potentially take each other out like that – this race isn¹t won on the first corner. It¹s all about the last 50 laps. AJ¹s knows that better than anyone – I handed him a win in 1999 during those last 50 laps when we ran out of fuel on lap 199!²

Gordon has the ability to laugh off the disappointment of 1999, but deep down it¹s something that has motivated him to be back in that position with 50 laps to go for 2001. Right now, it¹s chalked up as a learning experience, but it¹s something that will haunt him until he finally tastes milk in front of the Borg-Warner trophy.

³1999 was an experience I¹ll obviously never forget,² added Gordon. ³To come that close you have to have all the stars aligning the right way. Your car has to be fast and you need to avoid trouble. It¹s almost like a video game in that respect. You know there are going to be obstacles thrown at you. If you can get past them, that¹s one phase completed. After that your strategy has to be right on, the car has to be trimmed perfectly, and you need to have blinding speed. We had all that in 1999, we just didn¹t have the extra drop of fuel we needed.

³But hey, you live and you learn. I like to think I know how to make a car last here and be in position to win now because of a lot of the things I learned in Œ99. I also like to believe AJ can put that car under me to win.²

Gordon and his Conseco/CD2 Dallara will attempt pole qualifying Saturday, May 12.

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©2001 Robby Gordon.