Gordon listened to all the reasons why it wouldn’t work, then focused on why it could.
“There was a guy named Alan Kulwicki that won a championship in a Ford Motor Company vehicle with the No. 7 on it, and he was a driver/owner,” he said of Kulwicki’s 1992 title.
Gordon is many things, and stubborn might very well be at the top of the list. Tell the guy he can’t do something, and he’ll make it his mission to prove you wrong.
So Gordon left the security of Richard Childress Racing, where his only job was to climb into the car and race every weekend to launch Robby Gordon Motorsports, where driving the car is probably 10th on his list of things to do.
He’s now responsible for hiring and firing employees, building a shop, finding partners and charming enough CEOs to secure the funding he needs to make it all go.
The two seasons haven’t been easy, but Gordon is making it work and proving to be a solid businessman along the way.
An engine deal with John Menard, a newcomer to NASCAR, didn’t work and cost Gordon seven races last season, including the Daytona 500. So he made the shrewd move of parting with an old friend to partner with Dale Earnhardt Inc. for established engines.
He still hasn’t won a race as his own car owner, but his improvement is evident. Gordon has qualified for every race this season, and at 27th in the points he’s a full 10 spots higher than where he finished last year.
He also has big plans for his company, including expansion, which led him to reunite last weekend with Ford after failed negotiations to form alliances with several different organizations.
But Gordon didn’t need the Ford deal. He could have continued down the road with Chevrolet, picking from the scrap heap of leftovers that the Earnhardt, Childress and Hendrick teams left behind. It would have kept him afloat as a midlevel team, and nothing more.