CUP: Robby Gordon Changes Plan

Things aren’t necessarily going as planned for Robby Gordon this season, but he’s planning on racing Sunday in the Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

A few weeks ago, Gordon was planning on putting another driver in his No. 7 Robby Gordon Motorsports car while he competed in the MonsterJam truck competition. But the truck didn’t get done in time, and so he’s now headed to Martinsville – where he’ll have to qualify on speed after a disappointing start to the season led to him falling out of the top 35 in owner points.

“The truck didn’t quite get done,” Gordon said Wednesday following testing at Charlotte Motor Speedway. “It probably won’t be done until after Phoenix [in April]. We’ll miss the monster finals in Vegas this weekend.”

Gordon, whose team has an affiliation with BAM Racing that has brought some sponsorship this year, said at the beginning of the season that he probably wouldn’t run in every race.

But now he said it is likely he will compete in every event at least until May.

And what about the Indianapolis 500?

“I’ve got a commitment, but just because you have a commitment from people doesn’t mean it’s going to happen,” Gordon said. “We’ll see what happens here in the next couple of weeks.”

As far as the immediate future, when Gordon gets to Martinsville, the pressure will be on the driver/owner as he has top make the race on speed. He is 36th in the owner standings, nine points behind the Front Row Motorsports team of Kevin Conway. Gordon said he felt good about being able to qualify on speed.

“We’re going to bring our best car,” Gordon said. “That’s just all we can do.”

Gordon is coming off his best finish of the season, a 22nd-place finish at Bristol. He was involved in a last-lap crash at Daytona, where he finished 28th, had his car overheat at Auto Club Speedway and finished 33rd, hit the wall at Las Vegas and finished 32nd, and had a tire issue at Atlanta and finished 43rd.

“Looking at our season, it’s pretty simple,” Gordon said. “Running 12th going on the last lap at Daytona and get wrecked by [Jeff] Gordon, blow up at California, smack the wall in Vegas and finish 30th, [at] Atlanta a tire pops, and we finish 22nd in Bristol and we find ourselves three finishing positions out of it.

“I can look back at it and say at the last lap of Daytona we lost 20 spots and there was no way we were going to finish 43rd at Atlanta. I run good at Atlanta and had a good car in practice. But it’s racing. And unfortunately if you could make your luck, you would, but this is part of the game.”

In hopes of creating some good luck, Gordon’s team had a long two days at the Charlotte Motor Speedway test. It packed its cars up after the first day on Tuesday, took them to the shop and worked on them overnight, and brought them back for the Wednesday test. Most teams just let their cars sit in the garage.

“We had a bunch of things we wanted to try and we couldn’t get them all done here,” Gordon said. “Being a one-car team, you have to make the most out of your days and get the most parts and pieces to try. … Did we learn some things? Yes.

“That’s the important part of it.” • NASCAR adjusts gearing for Charlotte opts for smaller restrictor plates at Talladega