Love him or hate him, it’s fair to say that Robby Gordon is a uniquely talented and powerful character in auto racing. There are few drivers in motorsport today as versatile, as successful, or even as outspoken as the longtime off-road, open-wheel, and NASCAR standout—and fewer still are as forward-thinking outside of the cockpit.
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Off-road fans have always been able to claim Gordon as one of their own. The second-generation racer was a five-time class champion in the SCORE World Desert Championship in the late 1980s and early 1990s before ever heading to pavement. When he did, he took multiple class wins in both the 24 Hours of Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring, and soon after, some of CART’s top owners came calling. Gordon made 10 Indianapolis 500 starts, coming within a lap and a half of winning the race in 1999 before running out of fuel.
After making a handful of starts over the years, and running most of the 1997 season, Gordon finally latched on as a full-time NASCAR Winston Cup driver with his own team in 2000. He bounced around with a few teams in 2001 before landing with Richard Childress Racing as an injury replacement for Mike Skinner, and won his first race at New Hampshire International Speedway. Gordon would stick with RCR through 2004 before reviving his own race team, which he would run for the remainder of his NASCAR career.
But through all that time, Gordon never left his off-road roots, competing in the Dakar Rally multiple times and maintaining a SCORE Trophy Truck program. He won his third Baja 500 in 2005, and his third Baja 1000 the next year. And in 2013, Gordon’s longtime dream of reviving Mickey Thompson’s stadium-based series for short course off-road racing was finally realized with the inaugural Stadium Super Trucks season.
Fast forward nearly six years, and SST has become an international phenomenon. Gordon’s arrive-and-drive series has pitted some of racing’s biggest names against one another in identically prepared, high-flying trucks at events from X Games Austin to major Supercars races in Australia. He’s helped build the careers of Sheldon Creed, the two-time SST champion who won this year’s ARCA title, and Matthew Brabham, the third-generation racer who appears set to win this year’s crown. From off-road legends (Rob MacCachren and Ricky Johnson) to IndyCar stars (Jimmy Vasser and Paul Tracy), NASCAR legends (Rusty and Kenny Wallace) to action sports icons (Travis Pastrana and “Twitch” Stenberg), the names that have raced with Gordon read like a Hall of Fame of motorsport.
This weekend, Gordon brings the SST field to Glen Helen Raceway for its 2018 season finale. Robby Gordon’s Off-Road World Championships will use Glen Helen’s motocross track, and offer not only SST action, but also Pro Lite, Super Buggy, UTV, and multiple classes of motocross races as well. It’s an event that few in motorsport could ever hope to pull off, but if there’s one thing that Gordon has excelled at all his career, it’s getting things done where others can’t.