Gordons Dirty Day
November 26, 2003 | 11:18 P.M. EST
Beginning the race 10 minutes after the first truck started, Gordon's team and performance was optimistic and spectacular as he passed almost 15 trucks that had started in front of him. Then, the day turned to a sour note when Gordon's No. 31 Red Bull Trophy Truck sustained a flat tire a little over 100 miles into the event. Soon, another problem evolved with the same tire when the wheel came loose and broke the hub studs. Again, the team went to work and made the repairs, eventually returning Gordon to competition more than two hours later.
Then, with more than 100 miles left, a valve malfunction in both rear shocks forced Gordon to park his truck.
Gordon started 21st out of 22 Trophy Trucks entered in the class by virtue of a qualifying draw. The race course, originally scheduled for 765 miles, was lengthened to 805 miles six days before the event. Baja 1000 officials reconfigured the course after heavy rain earlier in the week created extreme silt and mud along the original path, resulting in hazardous racing conditions.
"I know we had a truck that could win, and I'm proud of the fact that our RCR Chevrolet engine ran well and that we were competitive when we were on the course," Gordon said. "Both of the problems that we had during the race were easily avoidable, and we'll learn from our mistakes and come back next year and give it another run."
Gordon is a legend in Baja after several SCORE championships and successful runs in the Baja 1000. He won the race in a solo drive in 1989 and in 1987 as a co-driver with his father Bob Gordon.
"I know we built a truck that was probably the most technologically advanced in the desert, and even though we only had 70 miles on it before they dropped the green flag, it performed great. We'll run it a few more times before next year's race and we'll make it as close to perfect as possible."
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