The Frontstretch: Robby Gordon Got Dumped by S.D. Grady -- Monday August 6, 2007

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Robby Gordon Got Dumped

Sitting In The Stands With S.D. Grady : A Fan's View · S.D. Grady · Monday August 6, 2007


Editor’s Note : Mike Neff is out this week dealing with a personal situation, so in Full Throttle’s place, we offer you a special sneak preview. Every Tuesday, our “fan expert” Sonya Grady graces us with her opinions and commentary on everything NASCAR; today, she gives her take on the Robby Gordon fiasco in a special column for the website.

Like what you read from Sonya? Then feel free to sign up to the Frontstretch Newsletter to make sure you get every column she writes! Click here to become a part of the fastest growing NASCAR news and information letter on the web today!

Robby, Robby, Robby…What went wrong during Saturday’s Busch race in Montreal? Does anybody know? I mean, save from Robby Gordon being kicked out of Sunday’s Nextel Cup Pocono race by NASCAR, of course. Was that called for? Well, let's see what I can decide.

So, what exactly happened on Saturday? See, this is the first problem. Nobody really saw…I doubt even NASCAR got a look at what transpired between his No. 55 and Marcos Ambrose's No. 59. At the moment that the field was busy spinning into a pile of debris behind Robby and Marcos, Robby was putting the moves on the No. 59’s rear bumper. I swore Robby almost had Marcos' rear end off the ground when the camera shot pulled away to focus on the melee behind them. The next thing we knew, the camera picks the pair up coming out of a turn, with the yellow flag flying and Marcos dumping Robby. As I indicated, Robby may have had that coming…we just never fully saw why.

What happens next? Robby sorts out which way is up and proceeds to speed back to the front, refusing to blend into the line of cars slowly pacing the course. He ran back up alongside the leader Ambrose and did a little grinding of the fenders…much to NASCAR’s chagrin. After two pace laps or so, he fell behind Marcos into second and rubbed his new best friend's bumper all over again.

Now, to me that looked like Robby and Marcos had come to a slight disagreement over property rights, and Gordon was explaining the correct way to handle such a situation to the rookie in his usual inimitable manner. I could practically hear NASCAR race control hollering at Gordon to get himself under control…even across hundreds of miles. Memories of a certain helmet being tossed at Michael Waltrip crossed my mind…just one example of how Robby has never been known to demonstrate a cool head when the heat is on. And I was chuckling to myself, because I know how these things turn out when Robby is steaming…and so does most everyone else.

But NASCAR knew this, too, and it is at this moment that I think things all went pear-shaped. Marcos had been moved out of the way once…it was better than even money odds that Gordon would do it again. No doubt, further retaliation was coming as soon as the green flag dropped. Is that rough driving? It isn't – until you add that whole racing back through the pack thing, making sure all the corners of your target are now nicely dinged while you wait for the restart. That’s exactly what Gordon had done – and the sport wasn’t ready for him to add to that resume.

To prevent any further shenanigans, NASCAR declared that Gordon was no longer in first place, or even second, and he needed to fall back to somewhere in the teens (the exact spot keeps changing with each report I hear). Their explanation? That Gordon did not maintain caution speed with the pack under yellow, meaning he was scored based on when his car got back in line after recovering from its unexpected spin…compliments of Mr. Ambrose.

"Huh?" said Robby. "No way!"

And so, the line was drawn. There are moments in baseball when the called strike is so far out of the zone that the pitcher, coach, first base coach, catcher, and possibly the right fielder are obligated to go belly to belly with the ump. This was one of those moments in NASCAR.

I admit, at that moment, to agreeing with him. The No. 55 was spun out after the caution flew. Ambrose did that; it was no fault of Gordon’s. If anything, Marcos may have been guilty of rough driving. So, unable to come to grips with NASCAR's misled interpretation of their rulebook…Gordon popped his cork.

He refused to follow NASCAR's directive. Why? Everybody knows that arguing with NASCAR after the race never results in a revision of the finishing order, purse money, points awarded, or an apology. Robby simply knew that if he had any hope of keeping the victory in sight, he had to dig in his heels. So, he did.

In turn, if there's one thing that NASCAR really doesn't like, it's having a competitor who doesn't follow orders. Was there smoke pouring out the windows of the control tower? Oh, yes. A small army of Busch officials crowded into Robby's pit, ensuring the order to fall back into place was conveyed to the irate driver. If spit could fly through headphones, this would have been the moment for it to happen.

Gordon remained adamant. He was not in 13th or 14th place when the yellow flew. He was in front of Marcos Ambrose, leading the race and minding his rear view mirror. To make sure everybody on the planet understood his point, Robby restarted the race right behind the leader, receiving a black flag as he passed the flagstand. Before you could blink, the expected occurred. Robby dumped Marcos Ambrose and sped off into the sunset.

Meanwhile, up in the tower, the powers that be had enough. If there's one basic tenet in this sport, it's "NASCAR is in charge," and Robby had just spit in their face. What else could they do? They pulled his scoring card and his NASCAR license. For all his on-course antics, Robby earned a day off in Nextel Cup for his troubles, possibly more depending on what gets announced tomorrow afternoon.

Was his suspension fair?

No. In this case, I truly believe that Robby's track record as a short-tempered bruiser affected NASCAR's decision-making process. Instead of perceiving the tussle between Gordon and Ambrose as a two-sided fight, they focused on the more experienced racer. In their mind, it had to be Robby's fault; and he's been told before to watch his P's and Q's.

If NASCAR officials had stopped to consider the restart order with a cool head, instead of being drawn into the emotionally clouded judgment demonstrated so well on the track, they may have conceded that Gordon was not the one to suffer from the spin. The precedent is there; they've repositioned cars under caution in the past. Instead, they put on a fine display of insulted elder statesmen and closed their ears to any further pleas.

I never thought this day would come, but it has. I will probably never say this again…but Robby Gordon, you were done wrong.

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Beyond the Cockpit: Alexis DeJoria On The 300 mph Women of the NHRA
A Swan’s Broken Wings Equal NASCAR’s Next Concern?
Thinkin’ Out Loud – The Off Week Season Review
Pace Laps: Swan Racing’s Future, Fast Females and Dropping Out
Sprint Cup Series Facilities Can Build Upon Fan Experience by Looking to Their Roots


©2000 - 2008 S.D. Grady and Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!

08/07/2007 01:04 AM

I can’t see how a black flaged car can spin a car out or how NASCAR can even start a race when the field is not in line or order what about the 59 would it not have been a better plan to end the race under yellow at least that way Harvic would not have gotten a gift from nascar it was bull nascar never wanted Robby to win and if the wwf oh nascar wants a better face then the better face will win.and everybody better like it right. f—- nascar stick a fork in me because I’m DONE

08/07/2007 01:57 AM

Sonya, you got it right.

08/07/2007 04:29 AM

Robby knows no one ever wins an argument with Nascar. Too bad, because they blew it. Either put both the #59 and #55 back of the pack for rough driving, or red flag the race to put Robby where they thought he belonged. If they don’t have a better way of enforcing their ‘decision’ than to just throw up their hands and restart, they are tacitly acknowleging they can’t police their own sport.

08/07/2007 04:53 AM

Finally, someone with somewhat of a voice states the case exactly as the majority of the fans see it.

Thank you Sonya!

William T.
08/07/2007 05:32 AM

It would have been nice to see what NASCAR would have done if this would have happened and the “other Gordon” would have been involved……

08/07/2007 05:34 AM

Sonya- You are absolutely correct! Were it anyone but Robby, NASCAR would have handled things differently. Robby isn’t always right, but this time, he was.

M. B. Voelker
08/07/2007 05:41 AM

If you go back through past races in Cup, Busch, and Trucks you’ll see that when it happens that a car slowing for a caution gets spun by a car who isn’t slowing quite as quickly they are NEVER lined back up where they were but rather they are lined up at the point where they blended back into traffic. Nor do they do this for deliberate spins either.

One of the more memorable incidents of this kind was when Carl Edwards spun Tony Stewart at the entrance to pit road last year. Nascar did not do the math to find out where Tony should have been if his pit stop had gone normally. They lined him up in the place where he came out of the pits. Period.

You can argue that this is the wrong way of doing things, but you can’t argue that Nascar did anything to Robby that they haven’t been doing to others under the rules as they have been enforced since the freeze the field policy began.

You can argue that Ambrose should have been sent to the rear for rough driving — but you’d also have to send Robby, and Harvick, and Pruett, and 90% of the rest of the field. In which case the real winner may have been Brad Coleman — if he hit anyone I didn’t see it on camera. :D

Robby’s a good guy. But he wears his helmet too tight sometimes and this time he let his competitive instincts blot all the good sense out of his brain.

Once Robby decided to defy Nascar’s authority they should have red-flagged the race and dragged his car off with a wrecker rather than let him restart out of position. Especially when anyone with a lick of sense knew that he was going to spin Ambrose.

Julie Powers
08/07/2007 07:09 AM

I absolutely agree with your sentiments Sonya. If this had been a Hendrick driver, you would not have seen this reaction from Nascar. They love to play with the outcome of a race. Robby and his team are trying their best to be as competitive as possible, but Nascar never lets them have the benefit of the doubt. Here is a single car team,competing with the multi-car teams week in and week out. The odds are definitely stacked against them, but with hard work, perseverance, and the desire to succeed, they keep striving to do their best. The roots of Nascar racing is in the single car teams, and it seems as though Nascar chooses to forget that and just focus on the big money teams. I think that Robby and everyone at RGM should be applauded for all the success that they have had and will continue to have. Interfering with the outcome of a race is one of the big reasons that track attendance and television ratings are down. The use of good old common sense would serve Nascar well.

Mary D
08/07/2007 07:12 AM

Loved the articled Sonya! I’m with Kerrie, I was so angry about this I basically said the same thing, “I’m done”. Sure Robby made some mistakes here, too… but how can you really blame him when drivers have no recourse to calls, decisions, rules… I feel strongly that there needs to be a driver’s union or association that is INDEPENDENT from Nascar, and a panel to decide things that is SEPARATE from Nascar. If WE all get this upset about the ‘closed’ way things are handled, think how the drivers and teams feel! As a NNC crew member recently told me, Nascar is “a combination mafia and CIA”, and like Nascar, they don’t ever apologize for their mistakes, either! Or have to correct them…

Jeff J
08/07/2007 07:19 AM

I agree that Robby got dumped and NASCAR made a bad call, but if Robby felt the need to dig his heels in and fight for his case, why did he line up second? If his contention was that he should get to line up back where he was when the caution flew, shouldn’t he have lined up in front of the 59?
Robby lined up 2nd so he could take a parting shot at Ambrose. I was with Robby right up to that point. His decision to go for the checkers and argue his case after the race was right, his decision to get in position to do that AND dump the 59 was typical punk Robby. Welcome to NASCAR Canada.

William Whitlock
08/07/2007 07:20 AM

Great article on Robby Gordon. Everyone knows, who listens to scanners at the track, that David Hoots is nothing more than a dictator. He doesn’t like Robby, because Robby shows up Hendrick motorsports 9 times out of 10 at road races. And a lot of the NASCAR management get their retirement funds from GM & Hendrick.

Brandon James
08/07/2007 08:02 AM

No one ccould of said it any better Sonya, thank you very much for this very true publishing. CAn you send this article and comments to King Brian and Helton Skelton. This has to stop or I truly believe there will be a new emergence of a racing series. Maybe that needs to happen, for alot of teams to leave France’s umbrella and start a new Nascar. One that can solidify the old fan base with Nascars original roots with a new more uppity fan base, and if not screw the new fans and keep to yur roots.

chip barker
08/07/2007 09:07 AM

excellent article. robby got screwed over by the dictators at NASCAR, and when he dug his heels in, they overreacted and lost control of their own race. Everyone seems to forget Robby was winning when Ambrose started the spin out cycle. Think NASCAR will apologize for once again interfering with the outcome of a race?

08/07/2007 09:28 AM

Great article. I am not a Robby Gordon fan but he really got robbed. What gets me really ticked is that none of the reporters on tv will ever really question Nascar decisions. They should have red flagged the race and got it right, but we all know they loved the drama and controversy for the big race in Canada.

08/07/2007 09:28 AM

CONGRATULATIONS for printing EXACTLY the truth!

My letter to NASCAR is in the mail!

08/07/2007 09:49 AM

Thanks for the great article. I do believe Robby did get robbed. Since Robby was suspended for the race on Sunday, I did the only thing that I could do to penalize NA$CAR and that was not watch the race on Sunday. I am a proud Robby Gordon fan. I love that he has fire and desire and yes is hot headed at times (as we all are at one time or another if we are honest). I am tired of the mealy mouth pretty boy drivers.

08/07/2007 09:51 AM

In the end Robby got what he deserved. The original call by NASCAR may not have been correct (who knows, you can’t see the rule book) but his behavior afterwards was ridiculously immature. I couldn’t behave as he did and keep my job so why should he. Who the HELL does he think he is! I hope NASCAR keeps him out of the car another 3 weeks!

08/07/2007 09:53 AM

NASCAR just decided they didn’t want Robby Gordon to win a car race, so they made up some ridiculous rule to try to guarantee it wouldn’t happen. I applaud Robby for standing up to NASCAR. NASCAR has become WWE-like in its fixing of races, and I for one am sick of it. GO ROBBY!

08/07/2007 10:34 AM

Robby Gordon got what he deserved. All he wanted to do after Pruett ran the 33 out into the field was hit the 59. The real shame here is that the guy with hands down the best car was taken out. From the stupid grin of the Crew Chief to the torn bumper behind the quarter panel on the 59, Gordon had no intention of bumping and running just smashing. Like a petulant child, he needed a time out and frankly should be on the step this week as well.

08/07/2007 11:50 AM

How can you possibly feel bad for Robby? He dumped Marcos, Marcos evens score but NOBODY can touch me great and wonderful Robby. I’m a Cup driver I can slam into you little loser Busch series driver and that’s that. Ambrose had a right to fight for his behalf. You shove a full-grown man(Australian at that..Rugby anyone??) and he’s going to fight back. Had he simply passed Ambrose clean he’d have a nice new trophy in his case.

Every series he runs in the officials are mean to him. Are they wrong? Maybe. But Robby creates his own trouble. CART IRL NASCAR he’s never learned. How many times can you crash or cause crashes before you look at the guy in the seat? Give them nothing and they can’t hurt you. Race me dirty Robby expect a return policy. Mess with NASCAR,CART,IRL,NHRA,IMSA,F1,NBA,NFL expect a swift reaction.

Anson Galyon
08/07/2007 12:19 PM

The second paragraph of your article is very accurate. After that, it is all Robby-fan speak.
If you’ll check the facts, NASCAR scoring shows the 59 car leading when the caution is called for the multi-car accident in turns one and two, with the 55 car behind. Out of view of the tv cameras, the 55 illegally punts, then passes the 59. As NASCAR ruled, anything after that is immaterial.
Godron cost himself the race, and all the boo-hooing about NASCAR will not change the facts.

08/07/2007 01:16 PM

The precedent is there, like Robby said, and if the motor sports board that hears appeals doesn’t reinstate the finishing order, than they are either crooked or inept. NASCAR’s credibility is in serious question here. Their ability to run a fair race is just as important as a referee not betting on games. Not crooked, but just as important to assure the credibility of the event.

With NASCAR being a public company, and businesses investing billions of public monies, the integrity of the event is paramount. If I were Robby, or his sponsors investors, I would sue NASCAR and probably own them for conspiring against him and not allowing the sponsors to be represented in victory lane or showcasing their company in the Cup event the following day.

LeRoy Zimmerman
08/07/2007 01:18 PM

As usual, Robby was screwed by NASCAR. He is not one of their “in crowd” and always gets the short end of the stick. I agree with Sonya’s assessment whole heartedly. NASCAR has become so rule and fine crazy I have just about given up on it.
Go Robby!

leon spinks
08/07/2007 01:58 PM

“The truth shall make you free” NASCAR got it wrong! Harvick should have been penalized for rough driving after taking out so many good cars CAUSING the yellow! Then if Robby wrecked Marcos on the re-start, Robby should have been penalized for rough driving. As it was, NASCAR created a complete mess where the deserving driver didn’t win, but rather the very one who caused the melee!

08/07/2007 02:18 PM

Time for Nascar to hire an independant company to actually run the races. Nascar has proven it can not be objective.

08/07/2007 02:47 PM

You are a true saint! Robby did the right thing by not letting NASCAR get away with this type of stuff anymore. And you my love? Top notch; finally a reporter with a F’n backbone!!!

By the way, RG has given Marcos a Cup Ride this weekend at The Glen in the #77 RGM car… What do you think of them apple Anne?

08/07/2007 03:53 PM

Robby got robbed! Next, I guess they will begin telling him what place he is to FINISH!


08/07/2007 04:32 PM


08/07/2007 04:57 PM

The truth hurts! NASCAR needs to listen up before they begin to loose a majority of their viewers. It takes a big person to admit they are wrong….and NASCAR has no clue how to do that! They wonder why their ratings are going down. Well, here is one reason among others. They better smarten up before it’s too late! Robby was robbed and everyone knows it!

S.D. Grady
08/07/2007 05:16 PM

Hey! I want to thank everybody who commented on the article today :-) Yes, even those of you who stand on the other side of the fence. Keep it coming!

08/07/2007 08:17 PM

The thing people have to remember is how did Gordon get in front in the first place he sure wasn’t passing the leader clean by getting in to him enough to get him sideways. He was clearly behind the leader with wreck well under way I think you will find the 59 was just returning some of what he just got when he sent Mr. Gordon for a turn. So if Mr. Gordon was so sure he was the best car at the end of the race why didn’t he show by passing the leader with a little respect and not his front bumper. I am sure that I would and a lot of nascar fans would die shock if for once Gordon would get out his and not start blaming others his actions.

Ted Main
08/07/2007 08:28 PM

Thanx for a real honest opinion of what actually happenned,,,Too bad Hammond and all the other suck-ups don’t have any balls to call out Nascar on this one,,,The race should’ve been red flagged and sorted out but The Ratings are most important to Nascar,,,Thanx again,,,The Wolfman

08/07/2007 09:36 PM

I agree with M. B. Voelker. NASCAR told Robby to restart where, or close to where, the 55 righted his car and was back at caution pace. We don’t know when the 59 was told of the caution. If the 59 spun the 55 AFTTER another half a lap, Robby MAY have an arguement about what happened.

I’m just sick of all these people complaining how things are being run in NASCAR. If you don’t like it, don’t go to races. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it on TV. If you don’t like it, don’t buy the diecasts. If you don’t like it, why are you on sites like this one and I agree with M. B. Voelker. NASCAR told Robby to restart where, or close to where, the 55 righted his car and was back at caution pace. We don’t know when the 59 was told of the caution. If the 59 spun the 55 AFTTER another half a lap, Robby MAY have an arguement about what happened.

I’m just sick of all these people complaining how things are being run in NASCAR. If you don’t like it, don’t go to races. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it on TV. If you don’t like it, don’t buy the diecasts. If you don’t like it, why are you on sites like this one and numerous others like it. others like it.

08/08/2007 05:58 AM

What a great article, Sonya – NASCAR will NEVER admit it was wrong; they just wanted to put their ‘foot’ down and show Robby who’s BOSS.
BTW, I was at Pocono and Robby’s trailer was selling LOTS and LOTS of merchandise.

peter zucco
08/08/2007 11:39 AM

I totally agree that robby gordon got screwed again. The yellow flag was already flying in the video in front of them. Any moron can see that. Plus how can you people say that Gordon dumped Ambrose and Ambrose came back and dumped Gordon. It would have been almost impossible for Ambrose to correct himself and get Gordon after. If you look at the replay Gordon was beside Ambrose in one turn then got dumped in the next. Plus it was no localized caution flag because the flag man was in front of Gordon and Ambrose so that excuse is gone. It is time for a better way of governing it then one family and there puppet president.

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