Holiday Double For Gordon
March 28, 2002 | 12:00 A.M. EST
Gordon and sponsor Cingular Wireless have signed a deal to back the Winston Cup driver in the Indy 500. Childress and Menard will co-own a Dallara-Chevy that will carry Gordon’s Winston Cup number, 31, and sponsor.
John Andretti was the first driver to do both races, and Tony Stewart has done it twice. Stewart finished in the Top 10 in both events last year.
“I’m really pumped up about the chance to run the double again and hopefully win both races with Cingular Wireless,” Gordon said. “I’ve been competitive in the Indy 500 every year and have come within a lap of winning it. We’ve just let a few slip away from us. With John Menard’s experience at Indy and Richard Childress’s winning experience in Winston Cup, I think the Cingular Wireless car is going to have a good shot at winning both races.”
Gordon came within a lap-and-a-half of winning Indy in 1999 while driving for Menard. But he ran out of gas, and a fast closing Kenny Brack took the checkered flag. Gordon has finished in the Top 6 four times in seven 500 starts.
Gordon has tried to complete the two races twice before, but rain hampered both attempts. He qualified fourth at Indy in 2000, but rain delayed the start of the race. Gordon finished sixth and flew to Concord, N.C. for the 600, which had already started. P.J. Jones started in Gordon’s car, but after a rain delay, Gordon got in and finished 35th.
In 1997, the Indy 500 was delayed a day by rain, so Gordon raced at Charlotte, finishing 35th. At Indy, Gordon started 12th and ended up 29th on Monday.
Last year’s Indy 500 was a highlight for Gordon, even though he finished 21st. Gordon became acquainted with Childress, who was co-owner with A.J. Foyt. Childress eventually hired Gordon to drive his Winston Cup car.
“I’ve been wanting to get Robby back in the Indy 500 since last year when we first teamed up,” Childress said. “I didn’t know much about him at the time but got to know him and realized how talented he is. He did a fantastic job in that race and has done nothing less for Cingular Wireless and RCR ever since. He got his first Winston Cup win with us, and we’re hoping he also gets his first Indy 500 win with us this year.”
Gordon won the 2001 Winston Cup season-finale at New Hampshire International Speedway.
Menard and Gordon have a history, too. Menard co-owned Gordon’s Indy 500 cars in 1999 and 2000 and was part of Gordon’s Winston Cup team in 2000. Gordon will reunited with crew chief Dave Forbes, who worked with Gordon in CART in 1999.
“I couldn’t be more excited to team up with Cingular Wireless, Richard Childress and Robby Gordon for this year’s Indy 500,” Menard said. “It’s good to have Robby back in the Team Menard stable. We have a strong history together at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, after coming close to winning in 1999 and 2000. I’d like to put that win to bed, and now with both Jaques (Lazier) and Robby, we stand a great chance to come out on the other side of the coin and celebrate in victory lane.”