Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Loomis Escapes Shadow

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Loomis Escapes Shadow

Article excerpt

DAYTONA BEACH -- The voice on the other end of the telephone last Sunday night seemed too relaxed to be Robbie Loomis.

Two hours earlier, his driver, Jeff Gordon, had won the road course race at the Sears Point Raceway, and that afforded one of the hardest-working, least-appreciated crew chiefs in the garage area a chance to catch his breath.

"How was that?" Loomis asked with a sigh.

"More important, how was it for you?" was the interviewer's response.

"Great. Maybe I don't have to carry all this pressure for a day or two. I can enjoy this -- at least until [today]. Then it starts all over again. That's the way it is in Winston Cup."

Loomis knows his position with Gordon's race team will forever make him vulnerable to unfair expectations and an unfair level of criticism. After all, when Gordon wins, people assume it's the driver who was most responsible. When he loses, it's the car.

Since Loomis left high school in the Orlando, suburb of Altamonte Springs, he's worked his way up the racing ladder with the same quiet demeanor. His attention to detail comes without fanfare. Loyalty to his cause remains his greatest ethic.

He got his start at the New Smyrna Speedway and Orlando Speed World, a couple of bullrings in Central Florida, and he worked his way through Petty Enterprises to the most coveted -- and most demanding -- job in all of motorsports as Gordon's crew chief.

The evolution has come with all the expected pressures. Sunday's victory was Gordon's second of the year, tying the former three-time series champion with Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeremy Mayfield and Tony Stewart for the most wins on the circuit this year. And yet, Gordon has developed a standard for success in the past six years that makes two wins seem underachieving. Gordon won 47 races in the five seasons preceding Loomis' arrival. …

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