Robby Gordon’s plans to race in both the Indianapolis 500 and the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 today have hit a logistical snag, with heightened security complicating his travel arrangements.
The Federal Aviation Administration has banned helicopter flights in and out of Indianapolis and Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., for one hour before and one hour after the races. So Gordon now plans to ride a golf cart out of Indy with a police escort to take him to his rental car nearby.
He’ll drive himself to the Indianapolis airport with the police escort. He will fly from Indianapolis to the Concord airport, then take a van with police escort into the Coca-Cola 600.
Final plans were subject to change. Either way, Winston Cup car owner Richard Childress scrapped plans to go to Indianapolis and watch Gordon race.
“There’s just too much going on with the helicopter situation,” Childress said. “Who knows? We might have to let Robby get on a motorcycle to get him around.”
Gordon practiced in the No. 31 Chevrolet on Saturday, posting the 11th-fastest speed. Then his crew swapped seats in the car so standby driver Ron Hornaday could get some laps. Hornaday will drive only if Gordon cannot get back in time for the start of the 600, or if fatigue prevented him from completing the race.
But unlike past attempts, when Gordon has declined to use an IV, he’s reconsidered this year.
“I’m going to take one before and after,” he said. “That was the one thing where I went wrong last year. I had stomach cramps and I believe I had them for not racing [Indy cars] all the time.”
NASCAR newcomer Kyle Busch was defeated by Matt Kenseth, who took the lead on the last restart and cruised to victory in the NASCAR Busch Series Carquest Auto Parts 300 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
Kenseth is the current Winston Cup points leader who moonlights in the Busch Series for extra track time and a chance at another victory.
He used a veteran’s experience to beat Busch as the race came off its final caution flag on Lap 171 of 200. Busch took only two tires to Kenseth’s four during the caution.
“I sort of felt like it was Christmas,” Kenseth said about seeing Busch take two tires during the last pit stop.
“As many times as we’ve raced here, as many times as I’ve done that, I would never gamble on two. When I saw him get two, I was really surprised.”
The race finished under caution as Greg Biffle spun out in Turn 4 with four laps to go. That secured Kenseth’s second series win of the season.
Tony Pedregon earned his fifth No. 1 qualifying position of the Funny Car season with a track-record run in the NHRA O’Reilly Summer Nationals at Topeka, Kan.
Pedregon had a quarter-mile run of 4.743 seconds at 316.97 mph. John Force was second at 4.800 and 316.97.
Larry Dixon and Greg Anderson also topped their divisions in the $1.9-million event.
Dixon claimed the 20th top qualifying spot of his career in Top Fuel and the first of the season at 4.509 and 327.11. Kenny Bernstein, subbing for injured son Brandon, was second at 4.545 and 327.03.
Anderson earned his fourth No. 1 qualifying berth of the season and the seventh of his career in Pro Stock, clocking a track-record performance of 6.825 at 202.15.
Damion Gardner passed Richard Griffin on a restart with only four laps remaining to win the Sprint Car Racing Assn.'s 50-lap Salute to Indy at Perris Auto Speedway.
Gardner, of Concord, won for the fourth time in six races on the half-mile clay oval, and won for the fifth time in the series’ 10 races. Most races at Perris are 30 laps instead of 50.
“We needed to be patient, but starting ninth, you can’t wait too long,” said Gardner, who took his first lead on Lap 19 and held it until giving it up to Griffin on Lap 42. Gardner got his chance to retake the lead on the restart after Tony Jones’ flat tire brought out a yellow flag.
Griffin, the four-time champion from Silver City, N.M., stretched his series lead over third-place finisher Troy Rutherford from 19 points to 27, and increased his lead over Gardner by one point, to 75 points.