Will Robby Gordon Ever Learn NASCAR ‘Orderly Conduct’ Rules?

Some guys just don?t get it. Robby Gordon is one of those guys.

Gordon, an allegedly super talented race car driver, was at it again this weekend wreaking havoc on the NASCAR Busch Series race at Montreal. In an incredible feat of defiance, Gordon ignored several NASCAR and team radio communication directives to return to his position in line on a late race restart, resumed the event in the wrong position, and intentionally spun the leader Marcos Ambrose.

Gordon then ignored further NASCAR black flag directives, as well as additional communications from his team to heed the ruling. When it was apparent Gordon wasn?t going to pull off the track, NASCAR pulled his scorecard leaving him 18th in the final rundown.

In a final act of on-track defiance, Gordon did a celebratory burnout at the end of the event next to race winner Kevin Harvick. Once finally exited from his racer, Gordon claimed he won the race and pontificated to the media that he was, in effect right, and NASCAR was wrong in their scoring of him.

Talk about ego overload.

?It was not my purpose to disrespect the authority of NASCAR or the officials,? said Gordon Sunday after NASCAR suspended him for the Cup race at Pocono. ?I do respect their authority to run the race and make the calls, and I understand the significance of the black flag.?


The first thing you learn as a NASCAR racer is to obey the rules ? the black flag – and all the others too. The second thing you learn is that NASCAR is always right when it comes to the rules, especially the on-track, in-race decisions.

Sure, there are things you disagree with, and Gordon may actually have had a point to argue about where to line up depending on when the caution came out Saturday, but in-race infractions are all but unarguable. If you don?t comply, you get parked. It?s that simple.

Gordon obviously doesn?t get that. If you look at his career, it?s clear he doesn?t get it no matter what he says as he has been penalized, fined, or put on probation for rough driving tactics in each of the last three seasons. Maybe that?s an indication why, for all his celebrated skill behind the wheel of a race car, Gordon has not had a stellar NASCAR Cup career.

In 255 career Cup starts, Gordon has just three victories ? two of them coming on road courses in the 2003 season. The third came at New Hampshire in 2001 when he dumped leader Jeff Gordon while racing for the lead late in the race.

In addition to these dubious accomplishments, Gordon has scored just 13 Top-5 finishes (5 percent) and 33 Top-10s (12 percent). In 27 events, his official reason out is listed as crash (11 percent). That?s not considering how many other races he?s limped around after starting or being involved in countless other wrecks and cautions.

Finally, Gordon has finished on the lead lap only 79 times (30 percent) and has posted a 25.5 starting average and a 24.7 finishing average in his 255 career events. For his efforts, he?s been awarded nearly $22 million in career Cup earnings.

Hardly seems fair, does it?

Ironically, NASCAR parked Gordon on Sunday not for dumping Ambrose, failing to take the right position on a restart, or even ignoring the black flag, but rather for racing his way back through the field and not maintaining the speed of the pace car under caution.

The one-race suspension was based on Section 12-2 of the 2007 rule book stating ?if the act or omission of a member is determined by a NASCAR official to constitute a threat to the orderly conduct of the event, NASCAR may take emergency action against that member ??

Whatever the reason for the suspension, it?s all about playing by the rules and Saturday, NASCAR had its pick of options to penalize Gordon, a driver whose on-track performances throughout his career can hardly be classified as ?orderly.?

Parking him on Sunday was the right thing to do. Gordon’s actions were way out of line, way, way over it. But then again, he has been for quite some time now.

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