Robby Gordon sponsor sticks up for him UPDATE Dodge officials admit a mistake from their Motorsports Engineering staff led to Robby Gordon having the wrong nose on his car at Daytona. Kipp Owen, director of Dodge Motorsports Engineering, issued a statement Friday about the infraction. "While the nose meets the template for the car of tomorrow, it has not yet been approved by NASCAR or use in racing," Owen said in a statement. "The prototype parts were in the warehouse, and share the same basic part number as the approved ... nose. It was an unfortunate series of human errors compounded by the very short time frame [Gordon's team] had to get their cars changed to Dodge Chargers in time for the Daytona 500. Dodge has taken the appropriate steps in the warehouse to make sure that prototype parts can not be mistaken for approved parts in the future and hopes that the circumstances surrounding this error are considered."
02/22/08 Jim Beam, sponsor for Robby Gordon Motorsports, has written a letter to NASCAR asking that the sanctioning body consider the team’s appeal of a recent penalty.
Robby Gordon and his NASCAR Sprint Cup team were penalized 100 points, $100,000 and crew chief Frank Kerr was suspended six races following the usage of an unapproved nose at Daytona. The infraction was caught prior to practice. The team, which switched to Dodge just prior to the season-opening Daytona 500 activities, said that it was sent the wrong Dodge nose and did not intentionally try to skirt the rules. The part did fit the template, but was one that NASCAR has not approved for usage in races.
Gordon has already announced that he is appealing the decision. Friday at California Speedway, a letter from Jim Beam concerning the infraction was made public. The letter, which is signed by Thomas J. Fiocco, president and CEO, reads:
“As a proud sponsor of Robby Gordon for the past four years, Jim Beam believes that the 100-point penalty handed down by NASCAR is excessive – we support his decision to appeal.
“Robby’s team earned an honest 8th-place finish in the Daytona 500 through tireless dedication, quality and character – not because of rule violations. As your own officials have stated, there appears to have been no intent to circumvent the rules in order to gain a competitive advantage. It amounts to an honest mistake that was corrected before the race.
“Your decision unfairly penalizes Robby, his sponsors and his fans. In fact, nearly 70 percent of racing fans on NASCAR.com are standing up for Robby and agree with our assessment. While we fully support the rules NASCAR has put in place to keep the playing field level, we ask that you closely review all the facts. Please consider not just the letter of the law, the spirit of the rules of competition.
“At Jim Beam, we believe in doing the right thing. Robby is a man of true character who has the stuff inside to compete at the highest level in racing. As the only driver/owner to finish in the top ten this past weekend, Robby is giving NASCAR fans something to talk about. When Robby succeeds, NASCAR also wins. Robby’s passion is contagious.
“If you look at the facts, we think you will see not only our perspective, but that of the millions of NASCAR fans. We look forward to your decision."