Rain Disrupts Gordons Double Attempt
May 28, 2000 | 12:00 A.M. EST
Let the other drivers in the Indianapolis 500 relax and celebrate. Gordon had another race to run.
Gordon finished sixth Sunday and then hopped on a plane to Charlotte, N.C., trying to become the third driver to complete the Indy 500 and NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 in the same day.
"We had a very strong car today. Everybody worked hard," he said as he walked back to his garage in Indianapolis. "I'm disappointed with the finish, but everybody here at Team Menard did an excellent job."
Because of the three-hour rain delay at Indianapolis, Gordon missed the start of the Coca-Cola. P.J. Jones, the son of 1963 Indy winner Parnelli Jones, started in Gordon's No. 13 Ford, but Gordon planned to finish the race.
He took a helicopter from the speedway infield to the airport. John Menard, who is a partner in Gordon's Winston Cup team, had his private jet standing by to take the driver to Concord, N.C., where he boarded another helicopter for the quick flight to Lowe's Motor Speedway.
On the plane, a nurse was standing by with intravenous fluids to make sure Gordon didn't become dehydrated during the second race.
"This wasn't that tough," Gordon said as he left Indianapolis. "I guess I didn't hold my breath long enough to win."
This isn't the first time rain has disrupted Gordon's double attempt. He qualified for both races in 1997, but his bid for the double was spoiled when heavy rains washed out Indy two days in a row.
Gordon was still able to make the Charlotte race, but he dropped out after a crash and an extended rain delay and finished 40th. He flew back to Indy and was in the lineup when the race was finally run Tuesday, but he lasted just four laps before a fuel leak caused a fire in his car.
Only two drivers have completed the double. Tony Stewart did it last year, finishing ninth at Indianapolis and then charging to a fourth-place finish at Charlotte.
John Andretti finished 10th at Indianapolis in 1994 but crashed and finished 37th at Charlotte.
Gordon, 31, has bounced back and forth between Indy cars and stock cars in recent years. A year ago, he was a regular in the CART series when he chose to drive a car entered by Menard at Indy, a race sanctioned by the rival Indy Racing League.
Virtually overlooked in pre-race predictions, he ran out of fuel on the next-to-last lap as Kenny Brack drove past and took the victory.
Gordon hadn't even planned to be at Indy this year. But Menard, whose full-time IRL driver was Indy pole-winner Greg Ray, gave Gordon the opportunity when sponsors stepped up for the Indianapolis effort.
"I thought we'd have a top-five finish," Gordon said. "We just didn't have enough speed today."