The fourth of July was a time to relax and unwind. I enjoy spending my offtime at my Riverhouse in Parker, Arizona. My family and friends all gatherthere for some good old fashion fun. As for me, the last couple of monthshave been non- stop racing. I just plain needed a breather. It was actuallynice to not receive any calls on my MCI cell phone, in fact I just let thething go directly to voicemail. The call back ring was even starting to annoyme. Obviously it was time to recharge my batteries.
Reflecting time is good. It makes you think about the things, good or bad,that have happened over the last year and more specifically over the last fewmonths. I have gotten a real kick out of the media responding to the "new andimproved" Robby Gordon. In fact, the whole transition has been a great dealof fun. I'm greatful for the "good people" around me that have taken the timeto be honest and tough. But most of all, I thank them for their continuedbelief in Robby Gordon as a race car driver and as a person. Although I wouldnever admit to anyone that I am different guy, I will tell you I say "Thanks"more than I ever have my whole life. The old saying "You get more bees withhoney than with vinegar" works for sure.
Last week, I prowled back to NASCAR Land in the #96 CAT entry owned by BuzzMcCall. Kibbles and Bits! It was fun to be back. Sears Point is a greatplace to race, however I think it was much better with the old trackconfiguration. All they did was take away a great place to pass. No matter,I figured I'd be passing a bunch anyway. All weekend we were fast. The 96CAT team is a young aggressive single car team with great people. I enjoyedevery minute of my ride there with the exception of when the rear truck armbroke with 10 or so laps to go. No one's fault for sure, just one of thosethings. It just eats me up to know that Jeff Gordon won that race. He wasbehind me most of the day. But you know what they say here in SouthernCalifornia........ Scoreboard Baby! And Jeff Gordon's scoreboard is onfire. Gotta give the guy credit. Doesn't change my feeling one bit however.Hopefully we'll see the boys again at the Brickyard.
After the Sears Point endeavor, I returned to AWR (Arciero Wells Racing) totest at Mid-Ohio. I was looking forward to this test specifically because Idistinctly remember my owner, Cal baiting me earlier this season that Max wasgoing to "wup me" there. Nothing like a little inter-team competition. I wasup to the challenge. I believe my fastest time was roughly 1:06.1 and 6thquick of 14 or so cars with Max at a 106.7. Max drives the car very hard.Our relationship is tense sometimes because of our intense desire to beat theother, however, I know we have both learned alot this year already and willcontinue the rest of this season. There is no question that has to continueif we are ever going to catch Vasser and Zanardi.
Up next Cleveland. Memories. Seems like just yesterday I was side by sidewith Jacques and I remember saying to myself "Your not going to get by me, I'mnot going to let you....... and the next thing I know we're both off-roadingat Cleveland. That was a great race. This year, Cleveland should be good forus and the Toyota Team. I expect to qualify inside the top 15.Realistically, I'm looking for our best team finish ever. I love that track.It's fun to drive, the fans can see it all and Cleveland's just a great place.
Zanardi's race there last years was nothing short of spectacular. No doubt hewill be tough as will Michael, Gil, Adrian and a whole host of others. ThinkI'm afraid? You know better!
When the sun comes up in Africa, the lion wakes up knowing that he must runfaster than the slowest gazelle or he will starve to death. Every gazelle inAfrica wakes up knowing that he must outrun the slowest lion or he will beeaten alive. There is one thing for sure, when the sun comes up in Africa,you'd better be running..........
Be fast or don't be.