April 2 in Motorsports History: Robby Gordon’s first IndyCar victory


“What comes around goes around.”

That’s what Robby Gordon told reporters after he won his first major race on April 2, 1995.

Just one year after running out of fuel while leading CART’s 200-mile event at Phoenix International Raceway, Gordon was in victory lane at the same facility, thanks in part to an error by Michael Andretti.

Despite falling a lap behind early, Gordon stayed with the leaders throughout, eventually regaining his lap.

With seven laps remaining, Emerson Fittipaldi led Andretti (second) and Gordon (third). But one lap later, Fittipaldi had to come in for a final splash of fuel.

While Fittipaldi pitted, Gordon passed Andretti to inherit the lead. Having not been told by his team that he inherited the lead, and assuming that Gordon was still a lap down, Andretti let him by without a fight.

It was only until after the race when he was being interviewed by ESPN’s Gary Gerould that Andretti became aware of the fact that he was in contention to win.

Robby Gordon celebrates after winning at Phoenix. Photo: All Sport

“Was that for the win?!?” Andretti asked Gerould. “I had no idea I was in the lead.

“It’s disappointing because I got held up with (Eliseo) Salazar and (Roberto) Guerrero, and they pushed me up into the slippery stuff (marbles), and that’s how Gordon got by me. Otherwise, I had no idea I was even in the lead.”

Meanwhile in victory lane, Gordon couldn’t have been happier.

“I’m ecstatic. I was crying on the back straightaway,” Gordon told ESPN’s Jack Arute. “It’s my first victory in IndyCar. It’s something I’ve always dreamed of.”

Gordon would win once more in IndyCar (from the pole at Belle Isle later that season). He would continue racing in both CART and the Indy Racing Leauge on and off through the remainder of the 1990s and early 2000s before moving to full-time NASCAR competition. He now races in his Stadium Super Trucks series.

Ironically enough, another Gordon also was victorious on this date in 1995. Earlier in the day, Jeff Gordon won a 500-lap NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Also on this date:

1977: Tom Sneva won the Texas Grand Prix at Texas World Speedway. Later that season, he would win again at Pocono en route to clinching his first championship.

2004: Former World of Outlaws champion Danny Lasoski recorded his first and only IROC victory in dominant fashion, leading flag to flag at Texas Motor Speedway after starting from the pole position. He then raced in a WoO event at the TMS dirt track the following night.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter

NTT re-signs as IndyCar title sponsor in multiyear deal starting with the 2024 season

James Black/Penske Entertainment

The IndyCar Series has re-signed NTT as its title sponsor in a multiyear agreement starting in 2024.

NTT, a global information technology and communications company based in Japan, became the series’ title sponsor before the 2019 season after starting as a sponsor of the No. 10 Dallara-Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing.

NTT Data (a subsidiary of parent company Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp.) will remain the official technology partner of IndyCar, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indy 500 and the NASCAR Brickyard weekend.

With the extension, an IndyCar spokesman said NTT would become the second-longest title sponsor in series history. The longest title sponsor was PPG from 1980-97 (under the CART sanction of the Champ Car Series).

NTT replaced Verizon, which was IndyCar’s title sponsor from 2014-18 after IZOD from 2010-13.

“NTT is an excellent partner across our enterprise with strong expertise and a deep commitment to our sport,” Penske Corp. chairman and IndyCar owner Roger Penske said in a release. “From Smart Venue technology at the Racing Capital of the World to the reimagined Series mobile application, NTT is transforming the fan experience in new and innovative ways. We look forward to a bright future together.”

NTT has used artificial intelligence-enabled optical detection technology at IMS to provide information to the track’s operations and security teams, helping improve fan traffic flow and safety, the track said.

“IndyCar is a great partner for NTT Data because of our shared commitment to driving innovation, increasing sustainability and delivering amazing experiences,” NTT Data CEO Kaz Nishihata said in a release. “We also appreciate how IndyCar is so diverse, with drivers from 15 different countries, and races that range from short ovals and superspeedways to road and street courses. It’s both an incredible sport and a wonderful example for our world.”

NTT also has been instrumental in helping redesign the IndyCar app and providing more race and driver data for use in NBC Sports’ broadcasts by utilizing 140 data points from every car in the field.

“NTT is fully invested in the development and growth of our sport and has already established a terrific track record in our industry with problem-solving capabilities and access to top talent and tools,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said.

Said NTT Data Services CEO Bob Pryor: “We’re thrilled to continue our collaborations that enhance and expand the fan experience for motorsports and serve as proof points for data analytics, AI, and other innovative digital technologies. For more than a century, this racing series has pioneered innovations making driving safer for everyone, and by continuing this relationship, we will accelerate the pace of innovations and new technologies, particularly related to sustainability that ultimately can benefit organizations, communities and individuals around the world.”

Starting as a Japanese telephone company, NTT grew into a $100 billion-plus tech services giant with U.S. operations based in Plano, Texas.