issue 004
august 2, 1998
  Robby Gordon'sSpeed concentration
agonies of defeat

I'm sure many of you remember ABC's Wide World of Sports. I don't think it'son any more but they use to start the show with "The Thill of Victory.... androll to "The Agony of Defeat. The picture of "Defeat" was a downhill skierwho miscalculated and crashed all the way down the hill. It was ugly.

Over the course of the last couple of years and recently I have come to knowdefeat and ugly in their grandest of fashions. 1994 and 1995 were very goodto me but the last couple have been unbelievable humbling. Of course everyoneknows, it's easy to be humble when things aren't going your way. The toughpart is to be gracious and humble when you think you've got the world at yourfingertips.

My manager and I decided at the beginning of the season that we wanted to runa couple NASCAR races specifically Sears Point and the Brickyard, places wefelt we could run up front and possibly do well. I discussed it with my TeamOwner, Cal and he had no problem provided there were no schedule conflicts.As most of you know by now, the Sears Point race was great. We ran in the top6 all weekend, with the exception of qualifying. We broke at the end with 10laps to go, but certainly should have had a top 10 or better. All in all itwas a great weekend.

The Brickyard however, was a different story. We tested 3 days 2 weeks priorto the race at the Brickyard and ran inside the top 15 of 38 or so cars. Ifelt we were in good shape to at least make the race and who knows from thatpoint. Unfortunately we weren't. When we first took the track, the car was acompletely different animal. Nothing like what we tested. We just couldn'tget the car dialed in. We tried everything...everything but the kitchensink. It was rainy and cool for the first day of qualifying. Figures. Allthe times were fast except mine. We ended up 39th, three spots away fromsafety. (They only take 36 qualifiers, the remaining spots are forprovisionals) It was certain to be hot and sunny for Friday the way my luckwas going. Friday comes, 12 noon you know the rest. Hot and sunny 80 degreesand no clouds. The race Gods were working against us. I gave it all I had,got loose in turn one and when that happens it's not a good indicator of therest of the lap. I didn't run fast enough. We didn't make the show.

Remember that down hill skier, we'll I felt a lot like him. I really didn'twant to talk to anyone. I sat in the car for twenty minutes or so reflectingon what might have gone wrong. Of course ESPN and USA Today all wanted tohear what I had to say. That's the good thing about getting an interviewwith me. Forrest Gump compares it to a box of chocolates, you never know whatyour going to get. When you're a vicious competitor like me it really hurtsto admit that we stunk up the place. Unfortunately that was the case. No ifands or butts about it. We were going home.

There are a number of people who might argue that times like these buildcharacter. We'll I've personally had about enough of character building.I've always lived by the challenge to remember who finished 2nd making the

point that it really doesn't matter because no one remembers unless you win.Hopefully no one will remember this one. Unfortunately I will.

Mid-Ohio and Elhart Lake lie ahead for our Toyota Champ Car Team. We had agood test at the Mid-Ohio course a few weeks ago. I look for both Max and Ito run strong. I've definitely got some excess energy to burn off.

"It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether or not you get up again."


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"When you're a vicious competitor like me it really hurtsto admit that we stunk up the place. Unfortunately that was the case."
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