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R. Gordon takes break from hectic schedule

Associated Press
Published May 20, 2004

INDIANAPOLIS - The busiest man in racing is cutting his schedule to better prepare for the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600.

Robby Gordon, who last week qualified at Indy and raced in two NASCAR events in Richmond, Va., said he will pass up Busch series races this week and next to give himself extra practice time for his double May 30.

"I need to run as many laps as possible in order to have a great car for the race," Gordon said. "We've got a good shot at making history by winning both races, and that's the goal."

Gordon has driven at Indianapolis and Charlotte on the same day three times in the past four years. He was eighth at Indy and 16th at Charlotte in 2002 and 22nd and 17th, respectively, last year.

He said his qualification for the 18th starting position at Indianapolis this year prompted his decision to skip the NASCAR Busch races Sunday at Nazareth, Pa., and May 29 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. His Nextel Cup practice and qualifying schedule will not be changed, Gordon said.

Gordon drove 46 laps in practice Wednesday, reaching a top speed of 215.519 mph in his primary race car. Seventeen drivers were faster than Gordon, all but one of them in their backups. The fastest, and the only one to top 220 mph, was IRL champion Scott Dixon, who drove 85 laps and had a top speed of 220.576 mph.

ROOKIE CRASHES: Rookie driver Mark Taylor spun out and hit the wall during practice for the Indianapolis 500. He was not injured. Taylor, who won the IRL's developmental Infiniti Pro Series championship last year, qualified for his first Indy 500 last week.

He had just completed a lap at 214.912 mph when his car went sideways through the first turn. It spun left, then right and hit the outside wall with the left rear.

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