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Gordon confirms RCR exit

As expected for some time, Richard Childress Racing and Robby Gordon have confirmed that they will part ways at the conclusion of the 2004 season.

Gordon says he will run his own Nextel Cup team next year, while Childress intends to announce a new driver for its vacant Chevrolet Monte Carlo entry this Friday.

"Several months ago, Robby told me that his goals included running his own NASCAR Cup Series team," said Richard Childress. "He has won three points races, a qualifying race at Daytona and has had a lot of good runs for RCR since 2001, but sometimes change is good.

"Robby is a true racer and I will always be grateful to him for what we've been able to accomplish together and for the positive things he brought to our organisation. I've always said that Robby is one of the most talented drivers out there and he has always gone above and beyond for our sponsors.

"I'm sure Robby will do just fine on his own. His Busch cars run good every week and I'm sure he can translate some of that success to the Cup Series. I wish him only the best."

Gordon has earned three victories, eight top-five and 23 top-10 finishes in 114 races with RCR. He also won one of the Gatorade 125 qualifying races at Daytona International Speedway in 2003. He's currently 23rd in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings.

"Driving for RCR has been an incredible honour and is an opportunity most drivers could only wish for," Gordon said. "I've learned as much outside the car as I have in it with RCR, and Richard has taught me a great deal about the business of NASCAR.

"He's a man of his word and someone I will always respect immensely. But I think everyone knows what my long-term goals are, both as a driver and a car owner, and now is the time for me to start my future as an owner at NASCAR's highest level. If I can be half as successful as Richard has been, I'll be very happy. We have been putting the pieces in place for our own team for most of the past year, and although we don't have anything to announce yet for next season, we hope to make some announcements soon."

The team subsequently scheduled a press conference for Friday morning at Atlanta Motor Speedway to announce its new driver.

Southern California native Gordon has been with RCR since July 2001, when he was named interim driver for the No. 31 Chevrolet while Mike Skinner, the team's regular driver, recovered from injuries sustained in a crash at Chicagoland Speedway. He was named the team's full-time driver in September and in November at New Hampshire International Speedway, in just his 10th start with RCR, he claimed his first NASCAR Cup victory. Soon after, Cingular Wireless was announced as the team's primary sponsor for the 2002 season.

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