April 2 in Motorsports History: Robby Gordon’s first IndyCar victory
“What comes around goes around.”
That’s what Robby Gordon told reporters after he won his first major race on April 2, 1995.
Just one year after running out of fuel while leading CART’s 200-mile event at Phoenix International Raceway, Gordon was in victory lane at the same facility, thanks in part to an error by Michael Andretti.
Despite falling a lap behind early, Gordon stayed with the leaders throughout, eventually regaining his lap.
With seven laps remaining, Emerson Fittipaldi led Andretti (second) and Gordon (third). But one lap later, Fittipaldi had to come in for a final splash of fuel.
While Fittipaldi pitted, Gordon passed Andretti to inherit the lead. Having not been told by his team that he inherited the lead, and assuming that Gordon was still a lap down, Andretti let him by without a fight.
It was only until after the race when he was being interviewed by ESPN’s Gary Gerould that Andretti became aware of the fact that he was in contention to win.
“Was that for the win?!?” Andretti asked Gerould. “I had no idea I was in the lead.
“It’s disappointing because I got held up with (Eliseo) Salazar and (Roberto) Guerrero, and they pushed me up into the slippery stuff (marbles), and that’s how Gordon got by me. Otherwise, I had no idea I was even in the lead.”
Meanwhile in victory lane, Gordon couldn’t have been happier.
“I’m ecstatic. I was crying on the back straightaway,” Gordon told ESPN’s Jack Arute. “It’s my first victory in IndyCar. It’s something I’ve always dreamed of.”
Gordon would win once more in IndyCar (from the pole at Belle Isle later that season). He would continue racing in both CART and the Indy Racing Leauge on and off through the remainder of the 1990s and early 2000s before moving to full-time NASCAR competition. He now races in his Stadium Super Trucks series.
Ironically enough, another Gordon also was victorious on this date in 1995. Earlier in the day, Jeff Gordon won a 500-lap NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Also on this date:
1977: Tom Sneva won the Texas Grand Prix at Texas World Speedway. Later that season, he would win again at Pocono en route to clinching his first championship.
2004: Former World of Outlaws champion Danny Lasoski recorded his first and only IROC victory in dominant fashion, leading flag to flag at Texas Motor Speedway after starting from the pole position. He then raced in a WoO event at the TMS dirt track the following night.