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Event Preview Fact Sheet

Event/Date: Aaron’s 499/April 6, 2003

Venue: Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway

Robby Gordon’s NASCAR Winston Cup Performance History at Talladega Superspeedway




Laps Completed/

Total Laps

































TOTALS Avg. Start: 21.8 Avg. Finish: 28.6 Laps: 743/940 Money: $291,381

NASCAR Winston Cup Points Position: 19th


  • This Week’s Race Car (chassis No. 94) was last run in the Daytona 500. Gordon started third and finished sixth in the race. He also won the Gatorade Twin 125 at Daytona with this car.
  • The No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet will carry a Special Olympics Team USA paint scheme this weekend in support of Cingular’s fourth year of supporting Specials Olympics. Cingular will donate to the organization $100 for each lap Gordon completes, $1,000 for each lap he leads and $100,000 if he wins the race this weekend.
  • Gordon practiced and qualified for the April 1997 Winston Cup race at Talladega but the event was postponed until May 10 due to rain. He was unable to compete May 10 due to his participation in the Indianapolis 500.
  • The status of Jason Fowler, rear-tire carrier for the No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet, for this weekend’s race at Talladega is still undetermined. Fowler will attempt to carry tires in pit stop practice this week and a decision about his participation in Sunday’s event will be made at that time. Fowler sat out last week’s race at Texas after suffering a torn nerve, torn tendons and a chipped bone in his left index finger during a pit stop at Bristol.
  • The Aaron’s 499 will be broadcast live on FOX and MRN on Sunday, April 6 at 1 p.m. EST. Qualifying is scheduled for Friday, April 4 at 4:05 p.m. EST.


“After our run at Daytona, I expect the Cingular Wireless team to qualify in the top 10 and race competitively this weekend at Talladega. We should have a car capable of winning the race. I think we had a car capable of winning at Daytona but it got tight for a while and we adjusted on it. Once we got it all dialed in, we were as good as anyone. Unfortunately, it started raining and we just didn’t get ourselves positioned back up front. I think we’ve got our restrictor-plate program pretty much figured out. We’re not as strong as the DEI cars but we’ve got a pretty good grip on the plate races. I know that our guys didn’t just settle for the good finishes, the Gatorade Twin 125 win and Daytona 500 pole position we earned in February. They got right back in there and worked their guts out on these cars to make them even better and hopefully give us something that can win the race.

“You’ve got to have a partner at Talladega to do anything. I think Jeff Green, Kevin Harvick and I can work together well again at Talladega and get the RCR cars to the front. Kevin and I stuck together like glue for a while there in the Daytona 500 and Jeff and I worked together really well in the Gatorade Twin 125. I think we all do it again this weekend but with hopefully first, second and third-place finishes. While having a buddy is important, it’s also very important to have a fast race car. If you have a fast car, you will have buddies all of a sudden. Everyone wants to run with you if they think you’ve got a car to win the race. Of course, the last couple of laps don’t count because everyone will dump their buddy if it will get them into Victory Lane. But I think that the Cingular team’s strong run at Daytona should only help us at Talladega because everyone will anticipate that we will be good again and will hopefully want to run with us this weekend.

“I like the smaller fuel cells that NASCAR has instituted at Daytona and Talladega. I think NASCAR could shake things up a bit by mandating that everyone has to change four tires each time they pit. That would make for an even more exciting race for the fans and would put the race back in the hands of the pit crews more. As it stands now, teams usually dive into the pits and take two or no tires. Everybody can do that as fast as the next guy but four tires and fuel are different and those stops separate the good from the great pit crews. I think NASCAR wants to involve the teams more in these races and that would just further that motive.

“Talladega is a little bigger race track with longer straightaways than Daytona so the corners aren’t quite as tight as they are at Daytona. The corners are so large at Talladega that it feels like a faster track than Daytona because we’re not scrubbing off as much speed going through the corners. A lot of the set-up information can be applied to both tracks. You have to lift off the throttle at Daytona when the balance changes on the car. You don’t have to lift at Talladega but if your car is really good, you shouldn’t have to lift at Daytona, either.

Handling is so much more important at Daytona than Talladega because of the size of the corners. At Talladega, I just need to concentrate on getting the Cingular Wireless Chevrolet to run as fast as possible as safely as possibly. All the Richard Childress Racing cars qualified well at Daytona and we learned some things from Daytona that will hopefully help the Cingular team to be better when we roll off the truck at Talladega.

“Talladega can be a turning point for the Cingular Wireless team. We really need some good performances now and the morale boost would be huge if we could finish in the top five at Talladega. We’re really close to being in the top 15 and only about 65 points out of 10th. All the 10th through 20th-place cars are right there together. But we need some luck first or the absence of bad luck. Unfortunately, a lot of times, Talladega can come down to nothing but pure luck. You can have the best car, hands down, and then be left with nothing but a little scrap of shredded sheet metal if someone plows into you in the ‘big one.’ One of the most important things at Talladega is surviving and being around for that last 10 laps and trying to avoid that big wreck. It can be a nerve-wracking race, to say the least. When you run inches from the next guy at high speeds, it’s so easy for you to pick up some air and lose control of your car and then collect the guys next to and behind you. I love restrictor-plate racing but I hate the risks that come with it.

“We’ve got to drive in the Cingular rear-view mirror a bit to keep the other guys behind us. There has been a lot of talk about blocking and blocking is scary for all of the drivers. Unfortunately, to be competitive, you’ve got to do it but you’ve got to be smart about how you do it. We’re hoping the Cingular Wireless Chevrolet is good enough so that we don’t have to block the other cars and can just run out front by ourselves.”