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Event Preview Fact Sheet

Event/Date: The Winston Open/May 17, 2003

Venue: Lowe’s Motor Speedway

Robby Gordon Statistics in The Winston Open (Lowe’s Motor Speedway)*

Date

Start

Finish

Laps Completed/

Total Laps

Status

Money

5/17/97

10

28

27/50

Clutch

$1,700

*Qualifying race for The Winston

Robby Gordon Statistics in The Winston (Lowe’s Motor Speedway)

Date

Start

Finish

Laps Completed/

Total Laps

Status

Money

5/18/02

16

7

90/90

Running

$44,500

NOTES:

  • This Week’s Race Car (chassis No. 99) was last run at Richmond, with which Gordon finished fourth after being three laps down early in the event. It was also run at Darlington this year after it was converted to the new 2003 Chevrolet body style. Gordon also raced this car at Richmond, Phoenix and Atlanta in the second half of the 2002 season.
  • Gordon qualified third for the Indianapolis 500 during Sunday’s Pole Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
  • The No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet will carry a special orange “reverse” paint scheme this weekend
  • Gordon’s former teammate Jeff Green and the No. 30 America Online team tested at Charlotte last month
  • Gordon won the May 1997 IROC race at Charlotte from the 12th starting position
  • Gordon will be in Charlotte until Thursday evening. He will fly back to Indianapolis early Sunday, May 18 for Bump Day at Indy.
  • Gordon will participate in a photo shoot for Boating Life Magazine Tuesday, May 20 at Lake Norman in Mooresville, N.C., in which he will test different tubes pulled behind a ski boat and share his performance review of them
  • Gordon will sign autographs in the Food Court at Southpark Mall in Charlotte, N.C., on Monday, May 19 from 4-6 p.m.
  • The Winston will be broadcast live on Saturday, May 17 at 7:30 p.m. EST on MRN and FX
  • Autograph session at Team Gordon in Mooresville – May 23rd – 3:00p.m. – 4:00 P.m.

ROBBY GORDON QUOTES:

On The Winston Open

“I think the Cingular Wireless team really had a shot at winning The Winston last year until Kurt Busch punted us with five laps remaining because he ‘wanted a caution.’ When that final segment began, we had worked our way into the second spot. When Kurt hit me, we didn’t hit anything but ended up with a flat tire and had to pit. Then, to add insult to injury, NASCAR sent us to the tail end of the field for pitting before pit road was open. We got the restart with four laps remaining and passed three cars to finish seventh. We were really strong that day but were the victim of circumstance.

“There is a different feeling and atmosphere in The Winston as in the Coca-Cola 600. It’s not a points race so it’s just different. I know we’ll have better motors and will pull out all the stops for The Winston because if something happens, you don’t take a fall in the points, although you can tear up your car that might be your primary car for next week’s 600. We just tighten our seat belts and get it on. The Winston Open and The Winston usually have the potential to be real ‘barn-burners.’ When you put $1 million out in front of a bunch of hungry drivers and don’t give them any points for where they finish, you better look out. There’s usually a lot of torn-up sheet metal when the night is over. It’s a no-holds barred race in which we don’t always follow the same rules of decorum we normally would. Guys lean on each other a little more on the track and often aren’t as concerned with a little fender damage if it means ultimately winning the thing.

“Running The Winston and The Winston Open is also sort of a practice for the Coca-Cola 600, at least for the driver. It will give me more laps on the track and that’s what I really need, and it lets you see exactly what your car can do. You’ve got to be somewhat aggressive to stay in the race but you also can’t get too caught up in everything and end up in a wild wreck. You can’t wait for 10 to go in The Winston anymore because you won’t be in the final segment and all the waiting would have been for nothing. Drivers used to lay back a bit and strategize about how to get to the front when it counted, but now the new rules keep us from doing that. The Cingular team has to go for it and go for it early. Drivers can’t sandbag anymore. I think it will be an absolutely awesome race that the fans will remember for a long time.”

On his Indianapolis 500 qualifying run:

“I got a big push coming off turn two on my last warm-up lap and I was only doing 229 or 230 mph going down into turn three. Then I ran 230.5 mph my next three laps. I just was a little too conservative coming to the green on that first lap. This Archipelago/Motorola car was great today. We just needed a little more on that first lap.

“We probably could have run 231 mph but we took a half of a turn of front wing out of it after practice this morning and I think that took us away from the 231 mph mark. I think we would have had a really good shot at the pole if I hadn’t messed up on the first lap. But I’m really happy for my teammate Tony Kanaan and his second-place effort. Tony was able to go out after watching me qualify, practice some more, and fine-tune his car a bit. He did a great job. I’m disappointed for my team because we kind of threw that first lap away. But if you look at history, not many guys have won the Indianapolis 500 from the pole. I guess we got that jinx out of the way.”

On the Indianapolis 500:

"I love Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I’ve said it before but I wake up for the place. I love Indy and I’ll race there every opportunity I get. It is very nice to be driving for Michael Andretti because he understands what it feels like to be so close to winning the race. I look at myself and say, ‘Man, if we had done this or done this the last couple of years, we could have probably won that race.’ And for both of us to be teaming up on a team like Andretti Green Racing now, in which Michael is an owner, our chances for winning just skyrocketed. Those guys know how to win the Indy 500. And I think one of us can definitely win this race. And the most important thing is that at the end of the day one of our cars comes home in Victory Lane.

“The going back-and-forth between Indy and Charlotte hasn’t been hard at all so far this year. Indy is closed Monday and Tuesday but I’m not even going to run Wednesday or Thursday at Indy. There’s a chance I may put in a few laps Friday morning at Indy before heading to Charlotte for afternoon practice. I’ll fly back to Indy Sunday morning after The Winston because all the drivers have to be there for Bump Day. Then I’ll fly back to Charlotte early Monday morning (May 19) for a couple of sponsor obligations, including a photo shoot Tuesday for Boating Life Magazine, in which I’ll test out a few different tubes that they will pull behind a ski boat. I’ll rate them and give a review of them. I’m looking forward to that. It will be a nice change of pace.

“Then I will fly back to Indy on Wednesday (May 21) evening to get ready for Thursday’s Carburetion Day. As soon as I am done there, I’ll jump on a plane and fly back to Concord for the 3 p.m., practice at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. We’ll qualify the Cingular Wireless Chevrolet Thursday night and I’ll stay in Charlotte until Saturday after Happy Hour. Then I’ll have a barbecue with the fans that are doing the ‘double’ with me late that afternoon and fly back to Indy that evening. Then Sunday morning begins the big racing extravaganza.”