Robby Gordon will be looking to his 2004 Nextel Cup campaign off to a flying start at this weekend's Daytona 500, as he pilots the Team Cingular Wireless Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing.
Gordon turned 35 in January - incidentally the same age as Richard Childress Racing - but, while RCR will be celebrating and commemorating its 35th anniversary throughout the 2004 season, Gordon hopes for belated celebrations after Sunday's season-opener.
Gordon got his first NASCAR Cup start in the 1991 Daytona 500, and his role in the stock car world has only grown since then. He will also be competing as a driver and team owner in the NASCAR Busch Series Hershey's Kisses 300 this weekend, slipping behind the wheel of the Team Gordon Fruit of the Loom Chevrolet.
The new Cingular Wireless Chevrolet paint scheme is the same special orange 'reverse' scheme that Team Cingular ran during the 2003 night races. Gordon, Cingular Wireless and team members liked the colour a lot, particularly as it was so easy to spot on the track. So, it was decided to make it the primary colour scheme for 2004, requiring Richard Childress Racing and Sherwin Williams to put their heads together to develop exactly the right shade of orange. Then, the car had to be painted three times to reach that correct 'dayglo' hue.
on restrictor plate racing with RCR:
“The Richard Childress Racing teams keep improving their restrictor plate races. We are qualifying better and racing better, so I think it is going to be fun and exciting racing for Kevin Harvick, Johnny Sauter and myself on Sunday. Every time we come away from a restrictor plate track with a good finish, it just keeps building momentum. As much as we race, momentum does help. That momentum is accompanied by immense desire, which greatly impacts performance on a daily basis."
on what it takes to win at Daytona:
“As for Daytona, it is not just about the driver here. It is about the guys on the team and the voodoo magic they do to get that half-a-percent less drive than the next guy."
on turning around a poor qualifying performance for the 500:
“I was a little disappointed with where we qualified Sunday, so hopefully Team Cingular will be able to improve our position for the Daytona 500 in the Gatorade Twin 125 races. We came out a winner last year, so hopefully we can have a repeat performance Thursday.
“The 125s are good practice sessions for Sunday, too. However, we do have to concentrate on not hurting the race car, because it's the same car we're running in the 500. But, they probably do provide the most insight to what is going to happen during the 500.
on working with Team Cingular:
“As a team, there is a brand new group of people working on the Cingular Wireless Chevrolet this year, but you wouldn't be able to tell because it really has been a very smooth transition. Included in that group of new guys is racing veteran, Scott Miller, who is rejoining us at Richard Childress Racing to assume the role as team manager of the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevy. Along with Scott, my new crew chief Chris Andrews has done a great job recruiting the rest of the team. We have some of the best in the business working with us this year, so I expect nothing but the best for Team Cingular.
on the importance of sponsorship:
“As a sport, we have a lot of major new sponsors this year and quite a few primary and associate sponsors continuously support us, so that is good for our economy to see sponsors step up and be willing to play ball with us at so many different levels by spending the amount of money they spend on this sport. Everyone knows this is an expensive sport to play in, so obviously we have to have strong financial support to stand behind all the people who put these teams and this sport together. In our sport, we have so many more players than football or baseball, so each and every sponsor fans see on the track every weekend is so crucial to this industry and none of us should take one of them for granted.”