Just call him a motive carpetbagger. Robby Gordon has burnt more bridges during his racing career by trashing his engine and car suppliers, yet always seems to find someone to back his play.
Now an owner in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Robby Gordon Motorsports is returning to Dodge power, having run with every other manufacturer in the series: Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota. In fact, this is his second run with Dodge power. “We haven’t had a factory program for two years,” Gordon admitted. He’s been an outsider in the NASCAR garage because of his volatility, but maybe he’ll find a home with Dodge and Penske engines this year?
"We're excited Robby will be joining the Dodge Motorsports program in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2011," said Dodge president and CEO Ralph Gilles. "We like the competitive flair and skill he brings to the racetrack. Robby's driving style mirrors the performance attitude of the rejuvenated Dodge brand, so he's a welcome addition to our team."
Obviously excited to have power provided by Dodge stalwart Penske, known as The Captain, “I’ve idolized him and love the way that he runs his programs. I respect him tremendously,” the Californian admitted.
“When 85 percent of your lap at most NASCAR races is [at] full throttle, you better handle the straightaway. The new Dodge engine (R6P8) that they came out with last year, the way that they ran being the two fastest cars here in Daytona (during December speedway testing), I’m excited about the package that I picked.”
Gordon admitted he’d been working on moving back to Dodge power for about a year. “If Penske would not have reduced down to two cars, there wouldn’t have been an opportunity for me just because they (Dodge) had their program. When that happened, it opened up a great opportunity for us. We get to play in the ‘Fast and the Furious’ program with them which fires out the whole month of April which is perfect for SPEED Energy. SPEED is about a fast and speedy lifestyle,” he said referring to his sponsor for this season.
Gordon toured the Dodge production facility in Detroit earlier this winter and was very excited by what he saw coming off the line. “They’ve got some very exciting cars on the horizon,” he said.
At this point in time, Robby Gordon Motorsports is set to take part in a minimum of 18 Sprint Cup races, starting with next week’s Daytona 500. “There are other events I’d like to do,” but since his program with SPEED came together a bit late, “that put us back about 60 days and probably jacked our Indy 500 program.”
Still, Gordon believes that he’s gaining momentum and selling product. “We’ve done deals with GNC and Basha’s (supermarkets). We control our own destiny. I am the driver. I am the owner, kind of the sponsor, except for our sponsorship with Dodge. We can be as creative as we want to do.”
© 2011 Anne Proffit