Robby Gordon Motorsports
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|Base||Charlotte, North Carolina|
|Series||Sprint Cup Series|
|Race drivers||Robby Gordon, P.J. Jones, Marcos Ambrose, Matt Crafton, David Gilliland, Bobby Labonte, Kevin Conway, Scott Wimmer, Johnny Sauter, Mike Bliss, Reed Sorenson, Brian Ickler|
|Manufacturer||Dodge, Ford, Chevrolet, Toyota|
|Debut||Sprint Cup Series:|
2005 Auto Club 500 (Fontana)
2004 Hershey's Kisses 300 (Daytona)
|Latest race||Sprint Cup Series:|
2012 Toyota/Save Mart 350 (Sonoma)
2011 NAPA Auto Parts 200 (Montreal)
|Races competed||Total: 291|
Sprint Cup Series: 251
Nationwide Series: 45
|Drivers' Championships||Total: 0|
Sprint Cup Series: 0
Nationwide Series: 0
|Race victories||Total: 1|
Sprint Cup Series: 0
Nationwide Series: 1
|Pole positions||Total: 0|
Sprint Cup Series: 0
Nationwide Series: 0
Robby Gordon Motorsports is a motorsports team owned by Robby Gordon. The team was formed in 2005 for Gordon's NASCAR career and spent the years of 2005 to 2012 competing in the NASCAR Cup Series, and part-time stints in the Nationwide Series. While in NASCAR, the team recorded one single win (at Richmond in 2004) and 30 top-ten finishes.
In 2000, after spending the 1999 season racing in Champ Car open-wheel racing, Team Gordon, owned by Robby Gordon, John Menard, and Mike Held, moved to competition in the NASCAR Cup Series; the team struggled and closed after the end of the season, with Gordon moving to drive for Morgan-McClure Motorsports.
In 2004, Gordon and Menard bought back the former Team Menard base in North Carolina. There, Gordon started his own Busch Series team, deciding to run part-time for the 2004 season. He received a primary sponsorship from Fruit of the Loom and his team was assigned the #55. He had a fantastic Busch Series season, which was statistically, Gordon's best Busch Season of his career; he picked up over 15 top-ten finishes. He won one race that September, at Richmond in his self-owned No. 55 Fruit of the Loom/Menards/Mapei Chevrolet gaining public notice to Robby Gordon Motorsports. Like in the Cup Series, his first win was on an oval track rather than a road course. By season's end, Gordon parted ways with Richard Childress Racing, his Cup team at the time, in favor of bringing his new Cup team up to the Cup Series.
Gordon purchased the defunct Ultra Motorsports for the 2005 season with Menard as a business partner and former owner Jim Smith being listed as owner for provisional points. In 2005, Menard built engines for RGM with little success, as the engines were prone to failure. This led RGM to switch engine suppliers and lease from Dale Earnhardt, Inc.
Robby Gordon found primary sponsorship in Jim Beam Whiskey, which became the pivotal sponsor; he also found minor sponsors in Menard's, Red Bull Energy Drink, Mapei, and Camping World RV's. While running a full-time Cup program, Robby Gordon and the team chose to cut back on their Busch Series starts. During their 2005 Busch Series season, Gordon's #55 team, mostly sponsored by Red Bull Energy Drink, finished with two top-ten finishes, including a narrow runner-up finish at Watkins Glen. For the inaugural Busch Series race in Mexico City, Gordon qualified 2nd in his #83 Red Bull Chevrolet, before suffering engine failure after charging from the back of the field towards the top-ten.
However, his 2005 Cup Series campaign was disappointing. In 2005 Gordon recorded only two top tens in total for the season. Gordon came close to winning or ending up in the top ten in the 2005 Sylvania 300 but a caution had ruined his day. After Joe Nemechek spun with Mike Bliss, Gordon had made a pass on Michael Waltrip. After the caution was reviewed for Bliss and Nemechek's crash, the camera turned to see that Gordon was wrecked severely. NASCAR heard from Gordon that Waltrip had spun him just as the caution flew seconds after he had passed Waltrip. Gordon was so furious that he first tried to turn his car around to wait for Waltrip to come back around and then crash him; but when his car failed to move Gordon tried to pull backward in front of Waltrip but when this attempt at revenge failed also, Gordon finally climbed out of his car and tossed his helmet at Waltrip's hood. In reply Waltrip on the radio mockingly repeated Gordon's own words Gordon said in 2004 in one race at the same track "He just threw a helmet on my car...well that is just rude. It was his fault." Then on a radio minutes later to a reporter Gordon said "You know, everybody thinks Michael is this good guy. He is not the good guy he like acts he is. The caution was out, and he wrecked me, and he is a piece of shit."
To exchange peace offerings between each other, RGM permitted Gordon and Waltrip to sign the mostly unscathed helmet and auction it with the purpose of donating to the Hurricane Katrina victims in 2005. The helmet was bought by GoldenPalace.com for $51,000 and the helmet remains on display in the headquarters of GoldenPalace.
In October 2006, Robby Gordon Motorsports signed with Ford Racing, running the Ford Fusion in 2007. The car was sponsored by Jim Beam, Mapei, Camping World, and Monster Energy Drink. RGM used Roush/Yates engines.
In 2006, Gordon came near to another NBS victory. At Watkins Glen in late summer, Gordon led ten laps but was passed by Kurt Busch with about 15 laps left. Busch held off Gordon for the rest of the race. On the final lap, Gordon charged at Busch and managed to nearly push Kurt into a mistake on the straightaway. Gordon tried to pass Busch in the inner loop, but he did not have enough momentum. Gordon then got side-by-side with Busch and their cars locked together. After a struggle, Kurt held onto the lead to eventually win the race. In victory lane, Busch thanked Gordon for a good fight, saying that it "reminded him of his fun fight for victory with Ricky Craven at Darlington in 2003."
In 2007, Robby Gordon Motorsports had a breakout year. In the Nextel Cup series, Gordon performed really well. He was about to end up in 25th place at the Daytona 500, but because of a last lap accident he ended up finishing in 15th place. He finished 17th at Las Vegas and qualified second at Sonoma. There, Gordon got by Jamie McMurray on lap one and had a 35-lap streak of domination. However, because of pit stop shuffling, Gordon finished in 16th place, after having the dominant car.
In late 2007, Gordon had one of his most controversial and bizarre NASCAR finishes ever. Driving in his own No. 55 Camping World-sponsored car in NASCAR's inaugural race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Gordon passed the then-leader Marcos Ambrose for first place but was turned around by Ambrose in turn three just after the caution flew for a separate incident in turn one. During the caution period, Gordon refired his car and went back up front. Gordon argued that he should have been the race leader, but NASCAR ruled that because he failed to maintain a particular speed, he was dropped to 13th for the final restart. Gordon refused to restart in that position and was black-flagged. In turn 1, Gordon intentionally wrecked Ambrose, altering the final outcome of the race, and was disqualified. Gordon went on to finish 1st after ignoring repeated black-flags, and then celebrated on track as if he won the event. Upon further review, former RCR teammate Kevin Harvick was declared the winner and Gordon was visibly upset post-race, protesting that he had indeed won the race. NASCAR responded by parking Gordon for the next morning's Cup race at Pocono. Soon afterwards, Gordon apologized for his actions, but maintained that it was a poor call.
To make amends with Ambrose who had ended up in 7th place after refiring his car to finish; Gordon gave Ambrose his second RGM car the No. 77 Menards car for some Sprint Cup races and the promise that Ambrose can race in the No. 77 car any time he would like in his career. The car was filled with decals of Ambrose' Wood Brothers Racing sponsors Kingsford Coal and Clorox combined with RGM sponsors Menard's and Camping World RVs. The last time Ambrose has raced in RGM's No. 77 car is in 2008 when he tested it in a practice run for a Cup race.
After the disappointing weekend at both Montreal and Pocono, Gordon redeemed himself from his penalty by driving from 29th spot at Watkins Glen to finish in 5th place. With four laps left, Gordon had the fastest car, but Ron Fellows was able to hold him off and he couldn't break into the top four.
In January of 2008, Robby Gordon hired a new crew chief, Frank "Frankie" Kerr, who would lead the #7 team in ten races for 2008.(11) During the preseason testing prior to the 2008 Daytona 500, RGM switched to the Dodge Charger, using Evernham engines. However, due to the sudden switch, GEM could only give Gordon a Dodge Charger nose for testing. Gordon received the correct nose, a Dodge Avenger nose with Charger decals, before the Daytona 500, and finished 8th at Daytona. However, he received a 100-point penalty from NASCAR along with a $100,000 fine, and a 6-race suspension for crew chief Frank Kerr. Many fans and sponsor Jim Beam started a "Rally for Robby" campaign, protesting the penalty, although it was standard in most 2007 COT penalties. On March 5, the National Stock Car Racing Commission made a decision on the penalty. The championship driver and owner points were reinstated making the No. 7 Dodge 21st in the Sprint Cup Standings. The suspension of Frank Kerr was retracted, but he remained on probation, and the fine was increased to $150,000. Kerr would depart the team shortly thereafter, after running 10 races with the team, and was replaced by Walter Giles and Kirk Almquist.(11)
Late in the year, GEM and RGM were embroiled in a lawsuit, concerning a potential merger between the two organizations. The suit was eventually dropped, but in the process the partnership was dissolved and Gordon switched to Penske Racing engines.
For 2009, Gordon made another manufacturer switch, the team's fourth in as many years, and fielded Toyota's for the season. Gordon ran 35 of the 36 races, with David Gilliland running at Richmond, finishing 24th. Robby Gordon's greatest finish on an oval track for a long time and his greatest finish for 2009 came at Charlotte in the Coca-Cola 600. There under caution he was trying to decide whether or not to make a bet to stay out for the rain that soaked up the track. He made the bet but David Reutimann and Ryan Newman made last second decisions to stay out. When the race was called official minutes later, Robby Gordon ended up in third place. Had David Reutimann and Ryan Newman pitted before the red flag, Robby Gordon would have won the race.
A second RGM team, the No. 04, debuted for the first time in 2009, with P.J. Jones finishing 43rd at Infineon and 41st at Watkins Glen. David Gilliland attempted the race at Kansas, but failed to qualify for the event.
For 2010, Robby Gordon Motorsports aligned with BAM Racing and continued with Toyota. Starting with the 2010 Daytona 500, Robby Gordon Motorsports expanded its partnership with Monster Energy Drink to include sponsorship in some Sprint Cup events. RGM's alliance with BAM Racing was to allow BAM Racing's sponsor Warner Music Nashville to sponsor Robby Gordon's No. 7 Camry starting at California as well as the events at Atlanta and Bristol. For the first half of 2010, the team had floated in and out of the Top 35. At the 2010 Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500, the team had its first DNQ since 2005, with Ted Musgrave driving. A major penalty by another team moved the No. 7 back into the top 35. The Toyota/Save Mart 350 proved to be the best race in 2010 for Robby Gordon Motorsports, Gordon finished second in the race and a second RGM entry, the No. 07 car driven by P. J. Jones, qualified and finished 41st. Former series champion Bobby Labonte drove at New Hampshire.
Robby Gordon made his return to Montreal, for the first time since his controversial run in 2007, in his self-owned #07 Menards/Mapei Toyota. Robby Gordon qualified 10th, but was sent to the back of the field due to a pre-race change on his car. Despite this setback, Gordon charged through the field to lead a few laps early on, but then got shuffled out of the lead due to pit stops. He made another charge through the field, taking the lead with about 15 laps to go and controlling it until he ran out of gas on the last restart. He finished 14th.
Gordon stepped out of the No. 7 to allow Kevin Conway to drive. Conway, a NASCAR Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year contender, having been released from his ride at Front Row Motorsports, brought his sponsor ExtenZe with him. Conway drove the locked-in No. 7 in the Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol while Gordon moved into the No. 07 that Jones was originally supposed to drive. Conway qualified 40th and finished 36th in the while Gordon qualified 37th and finished 40th. Gordon did not enter the Emory Healthcare 500 at Atlanta, fielding Conway in the No. 7. Conway had the slowest time of all 47 qualifiers, but due to RGM being in the top 35 in owners' points he started 42nd. Occasionally, Gordon and Conway switched between the No. 7 and No. 07 rides in order to keep the No. 7 team in the top 35. Conway started and parked in five out of the seven races he ran with the team, with his only full race coming at Fontana, resulting in a 31st-place finish. The No. 7 team finished 32nd in 2010 owner's points. It was later announced following the season that RGM would sue ExtenZe for lack of payment, much like Conway's former team, Front Row Motorsports, had done.
Gordon returned to Sprint Cup in 2011, but for only 25 races. He returned to Dodge and started his own brand of energy drink, Speed Energy, as a sponsor. Gordon's best finish of the year was 16th at the Daytona 500, though he also parked the car in ten starts. In May, 2007 Formula One Champion Kimi Räikkönen tested Gordon's car at Infineon, with plans of Gordon fielding an additional car for Räikkönen at the Toyota/Save Mart 350, but he crashed the car and the deal fell through. He attempted the 2012 Daytona 500 with sponsorship from Mapei and Speed Energy. During practice at Bristol Motor Speedway, Gordon's Electronic Fuel Injection, or EFI, shorted out and was not repairable, therefore, the team was forced to withdraw. It was then announced that the team would not enter until Sonoma Raceway, which to date is their last attempt and start in the Sprint Cup Series. At the time, Gordon was the last owner/driver in the series. He later stated he had been unhappy with the gap between the larger and smaller teams in spending, which granted the former an advantage.
RGM did not race in NASCAR in 2013 due to Gordon launching the Stadium Super Trucks. NASCAR then reassigned the No. 7 to Tommy Baldwin Racing and Dave Blaney. The No. 7 is currently used by Premium Motorsports with multiple drivers.
Robby Gordon himself raced for several teams in both CART and the Indy Racing League throughout the 1990s and early 2000s including Chip Ganassi, A.J. Foyt Team Menard, and Andretti Autosport. On two separate occasions, however, Gordon fielded his own team, first in 1999 and again for a one-off Indianapolis stint in 2004. After 1999 Gordon withdrew from CART altogether, while after 2004 Gordon would never professionally race open-wheel cars again.
Complete CART FedEx Championship Series results
(key) (results in bold indicate pole position) (results in italics indicate fastest lap)
|Reynard 98i||Toyota RV8D V8t||Robby Gordon||22||19||8||16||19||20th||27|
- ^ Used at Fontana.
Complete IRL IndyCar Series results
|Dallara IR-04||Chevrolet Indy V8||Robby Gordon||70||291|
Besides his NASCAR racing career. Gordon has competed in a few other racing organizations as an owner. He won the Baja 500 three times in 1989, 1990, and 2005.
In 2009 Gordon was declared the winner of the Baja 500 but was stripped of the title in one of the most controversial decisions made in the sport. The officials accused Gordon of speeding illegally and having an illegal fueling system. Gordon appealed but it was denied and Gordon was put in 7th place for the final results.
In 2012 at the Dakar Rally, Gordon won the final stage under controversy of his tire inflation being illegal. This was proven false and Gordon won by 15 minutes ahead of the second-place finisher.
Stadium Super Trucks
- Mills, Roger (February 12, 1999). "Menard Puts CART Behind His Horse". St. Petersburg Times. St. Petersburg, FL. p. 11G. Retrieved April 18, 2013.
- Dutton, Monte (November 22, 2000). "Profile: Robby Gordon". The Argus-Press. Owosso, Michigan. p. 14. Retrieved April 18, 2013.
- Schwartz, Nick (March 26, 2013). "USA TODAY Sports ranks the top 5 NASCAR fights". USA Today. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
- Larson, Mike (August 26, 2012). "Tony Stewart not a pioneer when it comes to throwing helmets". Autoweek. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
- Webster, Larry (October 1, 2015). "How Robby Gordon's Flying Stadium Super Trucks Have Brought the Crazy Back to Road Racing". Road & Track. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
- "How Ironic: Robby Gordon to Field Marcos Ambrose". Autoweek. August 7, 2007. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
- Pockrass, Bob (June 18, 2011). "Deal falls through for Kimi Raikkonen to drive for Robby Gordon at Infineon Raceway". Sporting News. Retrieved May 13, 2016.
- O'Neil, Devon (June 10, 2014). "Racing's best-kept secret: SUPER Trucks". ESPN. Retrieved February 24, 2016.
- Durr, Tim (January 12, 2017). "Elliott Sadler set to drive No. 7 for Tommy Baldwin in the Daytona 500". Foxsports.com. Retrieved January 12, 2017.
- Cavin, Curt (May 19, 2014). "Robby Gordon's Stadium Super Truck Series exciting for fans". Autoweek. Retrieved July 27, 2014.
11. Phone Interview with NASCAR Crew Chief Frank Kerr #MMDoug55 #NASCAR, Moviemakerdoug55, https://youtube/kc0zwjneIlE