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5/27/01 – Indy 500

SPEEDWAY, Ind., (May 27, 2001) – It was on ominous beginning for the 85th Running of the Indy 500. Rain Clouds loomed overhead, Steven Tyler changed the lyrics of our National Anthem and Scott Sharp squeezed the first turn of the race too tight and ended up in the fence.

Robby Gordon’s day started out with an outstanding move past the skidding Scott Sharp and on the outside of Greg Ray to lead the first 22 laps of the Indy 500. It went downhill from there and Gordon eventually finished 21st.

The first pit stop cost the front running Gordon an extra :30 seconds as the fuel nozzle jammed on entry. Gordon did get back in the fight and maintained a solid run in the top ten until about 140 laps into the race when the oil temperature started to creep north.

Rain red flagged the race and the AJ Foyt team took the opportunity to take the car back to the garage to see if they could nurse it home for the final 50 laps or so. After a drive thru penalty for working on the car under a red flag, Gordon bounced his way back into the top 10 running as high as 6th place with only 15 laps to go.

Then Gordon’s green and white Conseco/CD2 entry vanished from the radar screen. The engine expired and we painfully watched Robby drop from 6th to 21st in the last 15 laps. It would mark the first time in the last three Indy 500’s that Gordon would finish outside the top 6.

“Some days the racing Gods are with you, and some days they aren’t” said a disappointed Gordon. “We gave it our best shot today. AJ told me on the radio with about 50 to go, that we would have to nurse it home. He even game me some encouragement saying “I know that’s not the way that you or I would race, but that’s what we’re going to have to do.” Unfortunately, we came up 15 laps short.”

There is no question that Gordon will be back to contest at the 86th running of the Indy 500. The question will be with who?

Gordon leaves Indy on Monday and heads to California where he will begin his assault on the Baja 500. The rest of the season will consist of a selected group of races for Gordon including the Brickyard 400 and possibly the two road course races at Sears Point and Watkins Glen.

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©2001 Robby Gordon.