He has raced off-road, sports cars, and Indy cars. He was leading on the last lap of the 1999 Indianapolis 500 when his car ran out of gas, relegating him to sixth place. In 1991 he became increasingly involved in NASCARs Winston Cup.
Ask Robby Gordon what he’s doing on the weekend – pretty much any weekend – and you can predict the answer: racing. Gordon is one of the busiest racecar drivers in the United States, and one of the most versatile. The six-time off-road champion is also a popular figure on the NASCAR circuit, and he’s a familiar face at the Indianapolis 500, too. With Gordon in competition more than forty weekends a year, you might not know where to find him on any given Sunday, but you can be sure of what he’ll be doing. Despite the hectic schedule, or maybe because of it, Gordon balances out a wide-open attitude in competition with a meticulous mentality in everyday life. Between his racing crews, his off-road store, and his fabrication facility, the tireless driver manages nearly fifty people, and he is respected as an absolute perfectionist. Yet even under all that responsibility, Robby Gordon never fails to take time for the fans.
Growing up in Bellflower, California, Gordon was drawn to anything with a motor. By age 8, he was racing motorbikes, and as soon as he turned 16, he jumped behind the wheel of a car. “Racing kept me out of trouble,” Gordon grins.
The new driver won the very first off-road race he entered, the Nevada 400. The years that followed brought Gordon a half dozen off-road championships, but as much as he loved the no-holds-barred spirit of those races, he was eager to try other events.
In 1990, Gordon moved to sports cars, and he quickly proved himself. He won five GTO races in 1991 and a Trans-Am race in 1992. By 1993, he was into Open Wheel, as well, driving an Indy car for none other than A.J. Foyt.
Success after success followed, with wins and podium finishes in CART and the International Race of Champions. Meanwhile, Gordon became increasingly involved in NASCAR’s Winston Cup. From 1991 on, he drove for various Winston Cup teams, until in 2000 he formed his own team, running seventeen events. After impressive performances in both 2001 Winston Cup road races, Gordon was signed to drive RCR’s Number 31 Lowe’s Chevrolet to finish out the season, and he snagged his first Winston Cup oval track top-10, plus a victory at New Hampshire. The decision to run all thirty-four Winston Cup races in 2002 was a no-brainer, and Number 31 roared to five top-10 finishes, including a third place at Watkins Glen. The 2003 season proved equally exciting, as Gordon outduelled Jeff Gordon for a stunning victory at Sonoma and became only the fourth driver to win both Winston Cup road races in a single year.
Not that Gordon gave up Indy cars or off-road. In fact, he was leading on the last lap of the 1999 Indianapolis 500 when his car ran out of gas, relegating him to sixth place. And he continued to challenge the field at Baja, as well as other events like Spain’s rally car Race of Champions.
In 2005 Gordon added another entry into his already impressive resume as he became the first American to win a stage in prehaps the most gruelling motorsports event - the Dakar. Gordon loved the event so much that he immediately began planning to return to Dakar with his own effort, and in 2006 he will tackle the Dakar with his own Hummer H3 which is sponsored by Jim Beam and Toyo Tires.
Even at home, Gordon doesn’t slow down (except to answer fan email, which he does personally as often as possible). On off days, he splits his time between California, where he has his off-road store and fabrication facility, Robby Gordon Off-Road, and North Carolina, the heart of NASCAR country. Both locations are prime for the speed-driven hobbies he thrives on, like boating, mountain biking, and motorcycle riding.
Racing has been keeping Robby Gordon “out of trouble” for well over 25 years now, and the only thing he plans on getting into anytime soon is the Winner’s Circle.