NASCAR Race Weekend Central

2008 NASCAR Driver Review: Robby Gordon

Robby Gordon

2008 Ride: No. 7 Robby Gordon Motorsports Dodge
2008 Primary Sponsors: Jim Beam, Charter Communications, Valvoline, Planet Color, Barrett-Jackson, Mapei, Camping World, Saveourname.com, Menards
2008 Owner: Robby Gordon
2008 Crew Chiefs: Frank Kerr (Feb. – Apr.), Walter Giles (Apr. – Sept.), Kirk Almquist (Sept. – Nov.)
2008 Stats: 36 races, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 3 top 10s, 0 poles, 33rd in points

High Point: On the track, Robby Gordon’s performances on the two restrictor-plate tri-ovals, with an eighth and a sixth at Daytona to go along with an eighth at Talladega. These wound up being his only top 10s of the season in the Cup Series.

Low Point: Prior to the opening weekend at Daytona, when a change from Ford to Dodge resulted in the “wrong” nose being installed on the No. 7 car. The mistake led to a resulting six-week NASCAR suspension for crew chief Frank Kerr, in addition to heavy fines.

Summary: Gordon finished all but four races on the 2008 Sprint Cup schedule, with one DNF because of engine troubles and the other three because of wrecks. He finished 33rd in the points with a finishing average of 28.1, but was obviously feeling better about his team’s progress at the end of the campaign.

“We’ve learned a lot,” he said. “I think our team continues to get better every week, and I’m proud of the improvements that we’ve made throughout the 2008 season. If you look at just superspeedway races, we finished second in the restrictor-plate points. We have continued to show improvement at intermediate tracks, Like Charlotte and Texas. We put together some very strong runs throughout this season, and hopefully we can build on that to be even better in 2009.”

Gordon’s team finished behind the No. 22 of Bill Davis Racing among single-car organizations, but continued to make more with less in the face of limited sponsorship. Entering a handful of races with nothing on the hood, Gordon persevered and remained in the Top 35 in owner points, allowing him to qualify for all 36 races with ease. An alliance with Gillett Evernham Motorsports also gave Gordon stability throughout his transition to Dodge early on.

2009 Outlook: As one motorsports writer put it, Gordon is nothing if not persistent. He is bound and determined to make a go of it in NASCAR, and keeps piecing together enough sponsorship to get him through. Jim Beam has signed on for another year, and with continued support from Menards, the No. 7 car may be in decent shape for 2009. Rumors had Gordon possibly merging with DEI in some form and going to Chevy, but these were denied and never came to pass. Then, there was reportedly a planned sale to Gillett Evernham Motorsports, and a lawsuit by GEM after Gordon decided not to go through with it.

The suit was dropped in late September, and Gordon began using Penske engines to replace the GEM powerplants. In December, word came that Robby plans to switch from Dodge to Toyota for 2009, but there’s no word yet as to a possible alignment with Bill Davis Racing or any other Toyota team.

Gordon has never been one to shy away from switching manufacturers, as evidenced by the swap from Ford to Dodge at virtually the last minute in 2008. So, don’t expect a difficult transition; instead, the difficulty will be continuing to compete as a one-car organization in the face of growing three- and four-car organizations.

2006 Frontstretch Grade: C
2007 Grade: C+
2008 Grade: D

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