Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Robby Wins Gordon Duel

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Robby Wins Gordon Duel

Article excerpt

Byline: Don Coble, Times-Union sports writer

SONOMA, Calif. -- Robby Gordon had road racing experience and a strong Chevrolet in the Dodge/Save Mart 350, but those weren't nearly as important as his reputation for being aggressive.

Jeff Gordon thought he had the fastest car in the final 10 laps of yesterday's road course race at the Infineon Raceway, but it wasn't worth finishing the race on his roof.

So, Robby won and Jeff finished second.

The battle of bumpers never happened; the test of wills remained separated by five car lengths throughout most of the final five laps.

"I had to keep [the big picture] in mind," Jeff Gordon said. "I could have made a couple of moves on him, but it was really iffy. Robby's pretty hungry on these road courses and I knew he'd be real aggressive trying to win it."

Robby Gordon, who's not related to the runner-up, was more afraid of what Jeff would do in the closing laps. After all, he spun Jeff at New Hampshire for his only other NASCAR Winston Cup Series victory in 2001.

"I was basing my speed off Jeff," Robby said. "The car was pretty good there at the end. I didn't want him to get close enough to turn me in [the final corner] because he still owes me one from Loudon (N.H.).

"I don't think there was any luck here today. We had a plan; we stuck to it all day long. We stuck to our plan early -- when we were going to stop and when we weren't going to stop -- and we worked that plan perfectly."

Robby Gordon finally found redemption on a Winston Cup road course. He was close to winning a couple other times, but his aggressive nature always did him in.

Two years ago, he lost his lead trying to keep Kevin Harvick from getting back on the lead lap. This time, he was smart enough to stay an arm's length away from a possible sucker punch by Jeff Gordon.

"It's really hard to pass here," Jeff Gordon said. "Robby wasn't very good, compared to us, but he was good in the right places, the places where you can pass. …

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