Gordon misses start of Coca-Cola 600
INDIANAPOLIS -- Robby Gordon had time for a quick hello to
his family and friends and a change of clothes before he hopped on
a golf cart and sped off for the helipad.
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 to become the third driver to complete the Indy 500 and
NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 in the same day. He finished 35th in the
night race after taking the wheel from P.J. Jones midway through
"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
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
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
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
"I thought we'd have a top-five finish," Gordon said. "We
just didn't have enough speed today."