Saturday, March 25, 2006

I Really Shouldn't Like...But I Do

I really shouldn’t like Robby Gordon. In the fateful 2001 Daytona 500, early in the race, he tried to run over Ward Burton’s #22 car, which caused a chain reaction resulting in a very scary airborne ride for #20 Tony Stewart, in which he landed upside down on top of his teammate Bobby Labonte’s car. I forgave him for that, eventually. In 2003, he began racing full time with Richard Childress Racing, after ten years as a part time and specialty driver in NASCAR. During the 2003 and 2004 seasons, he continuously tangled with other drivers, demonstrating habitual practices of failing to throttle down after bumping the rear of other cars, and often cutting other drivers off, while trying to gain position. This often, as not, resulted in “Rubby,” as I started calling him, wrecking his own car and taking himself out of the race. It also resulted in him not having the respect of the other drivers, including his own teammate, Kevin Harvick. One would think that he would have learned something during his previous time in NASCAR rides, but it didn’t appear that he had.
Then, in 2004 at Louden, NH, during the first race of the inaugural NASCAR Nextel Cup “Chase for the Championship,” Robby Gordon did the unforgivable. While trying to retaliate against another driver, he caused an accident which took “chasers” Tony Stewart and Jeremy Mayfield out of the race and out of contention for the championship. Man-oh-man was I pissed at Gordon!
Yet, somehow, I did forgive him. Maybe it was the fact that I am somewhat drawn to aggressive drivers. After all, I was a fan of Dale Earnhardt, and have been a fan of Tony Stewart for several years.
But there are different kinds of aggression, and Robby’s doesn’t really fit into the “good” aggression category. Of course, Tony’s aggression isn’t always of the good srt, either. It could be Robby Gordon’s personality that keeps me watching him favorably. The man has charm--when he started his own racing team last year, as an owner/driver, I never doubted his ability to obtain and retain the all important big money sponsers necessary to keep his team going, for he has the ability to make people like him. I know that it is his status as an owner/driver that keeps me wanting to cheer for him in certain circumstances, because in the big-money corporate world of multiple car teams, the owner/driver is an automatic underdog, representative of the common man or woman. Plus, with his record so far this year, he could be the most successful owner/driver since the late Alan Kulwicki, 1992 NASCAR Cup points Champion, whose team carried the #7, Robby Gordon's number.
I have to like him just because he is a talented driver. Beginning with his career as an off-road racer, through his time in open wheel cars, and as a much sought after world rally driver, he has proven himself as an excellent all-around driver who can handle just about anything.
I'll just have to accept the fact that I like this guy, and wish him and his team the best of luck this season. I want to see them prove that there is still room in NASCAR for the owner/driver. Long live the memory of Alan Kulwicki!


Clance' McClannahan said...

I used to not like Robby as much as I dislike Baby Busch.
He is my second favorite driver now. I love em.
I honestly think he is the one of the best all round talented driver's out there and will see the Sun shine upon him soon.
TO tell you the truth, the helmet incident is the one that made me pay a little more attention to him, my new hero of the year.. That was so great...
By the way I taged you. The link is on my blog...your IT.

tazfan said...

I'll add one other thing about robby. He has a cute grin :)

Sorry, but how could I NOT say that :) Even I forgave him for flipping my Tonys car upside down :)