By admin | June 21, 2012
By Richard Allen
Checking the entry list for this weekend’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 reveals the name of an infrequent competitor in this year’s NASCAR season. Robby Gordon will be making only his fifth attempt at qualifying for a Sprint Cup race in 2012. He made the field for the Daytona 500 and the race in Phoenix.
This writer, for one, misses having Gordon as a regular in this form of racing. Or more, I miss the type of driver Gordon was among the last to represent. He was that rebellious loner who actually worked on his own car, did his own legwork in obtaining sponsors and took the risks of running his own enterprise.
Over time, the mega-team represented by such organizations as Hendrick Motorsports, Roush Fenway Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing overpowered the ‘independent’ runners in NASCAR until today they only exist as ‘start and park’ field fillers.
Gordon himself drove for one of those super powers in NASCAR from 2001 to 2004 when he piloted a Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. He proved to be not so well suited for working within a major organization and ultimately parted ways after having won three Sprint Cup races in his time with that organization.
Two of Gordon’s three victories came on road courses, one each at Sonoma and Watkins Glen. And it was on those tracks that feature both left and right turns where he stood the best chance of upsetting the major players when he drove for himself or other smaller teams. So this weekend at least offers the opportunity for him to play some sort of a spoiler role.
Robby Gordon will not win the Toyota/Save Mart 350. Running well and finishing would most likely be the best to hope for. This weekend on the road course in Sonoma, this driver will not represent a dying breed but rather a dead breed. But it would be refreshing to see him have a nice moment in the California sun.
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