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Cingular Wireless Racing

Event Preview Fact Sheet

Event/Date: Gatorade Twin 125s/Feb. 13, 2003

Venue: Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway

Robby Gordon’s NASCAR Winston Cup Performance History in the Gatorade Twin 125s

Date

Start

Finish

Laps Completed/

Total Laps

Status

Money

2/14/02

3

6

50/50

Running

$23,484

2/15/01

10

23

47/50

Engine

20,959

2/17/00

16

9

50/50

Running

15,396

2/13/97

6

9

50/50

Running

8,889

2/14/91

17

16

50/50

Running

3,150

TOTALS

Avg. Start:

10.4

Avg. Finish:

12.6

Laps: 247/250

Money:

$71,878

NOTES:

  • This Week’s Race Car (chassis No. 94) was last run in the July 2002 race at Daytona. Gordon qualified fourth and was running in the top 10 when Kurt Busch hit the No. 31 car in its pit stall and severely damaged it. Gordon finished 29th. The Cingular team has since re-built the car to comply with the 2003 Monte Carlo body regulations.
  • The Cingular Wireless Racing team tested this car at Daytona last month
  • Gordon will present the trophy in the Moto X Big Air competition at the X Games, scheduled to air on ESPN on Tuesday, Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. ET
  • Gordon got his first NASCAR Winston Cup start in the 1991 Daytona 500
  • The 2003 Daytona 500 will mark Gordon’s 99th NASCAR Winston Cup start
  • Gordon earned four consecutive IMSA GTS/GTO class wins in the 24 Hours of Daytona from 1990-1993
  • Gordon will sign autographs at the Cingular Wireless retail store at Volusia Mall (across from Daytona International Speedway) on Friday, Feb. 14th from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
  • The Gatorade Twin 125s will be broadcast live on F/X and MRN on Thursday, Feb. 13th at 1 p.m. EST.

ROBBY GORDON QUOTES:

“I think the Gatorade Twin 125 races can be good practice sessions for the Daytona 500 but that all depends on how your car is running at the time. The Cingular Wireless team has to approach the Gatorade Twin 125s in two different ways. Obviously, we’ve got to make sure we do well in the race so we have a good starting spot for the Daytona 500. But we also have to concentrate on not hurting the race car because it’s the same car we’re running in the 500. We don’t get to take it back to the shop and tune on it before we come back and race the next week. We’ve got to focus on keeping a whole, unscathed car in the Gatorade 125 race. So, you really can’t race as hard as you want unless you’re already locked into the top first or second starting spot, or you might find yourself racing back to the house after failing to qualify for the big race.

“The Gatorade race is going to be a different race this year because of the smaller fuel cells. We’ll have to pit during the 50-lap race for the first time ever because the fuel cells won’t make it far enough. The smaller fuel cells will change up the game a bit like they did at Talladega last October. It should be very interesting and different than the other 125s before.”

“As a team, everything is starting to gel for us. I’ve got some new guys on my crew and my pit crew now is comprised of guys who only come to the track on Sundays. They don’t work on the car all weekend long and then pit the car. They just work in the shop, work out in the gym and have pit stop practices during the week before they head to the track. Furthermore, I think that Kevin Harvick, Jeff Green and I are getting to know each other better as people and as drivers. We should work together better, just like our teams are working better together. Richard has made a lot of changes with our teams that I think are going to be better for the whole group.

“Engine horsepower is huge at Daytona. Richard Childress Racing is legendary for its engine program and I’ve had some pretty stout engines at Daytona and Talladega with the Cingular team. You have to have a great engine because every little ounce of horsepower is important. Just a bit of horsepower can make a big difference in how well your car performs.

“But you can have the best engine and fastest car on the track at Daytona but if you don’t have some good luck, you’ve got nothing. You can pick the best line and go with those cars and draft well, but if somebody screws up, you’ve all got problems. With as close as the 43 cars run at Daytona, if you make a mistake, you make that mistake for about 20 other cars. You’ve got to be really strong at Daytona, but it’s nothing without some luck.

“The three RCR teams as a whole are going to have to improve in 2003. As Richard says, we don’t have a choice — we have to win. We finished 18th, 20th and 22nd in the championship points last year — that’s not exactly where Richard Childress is used to ending a season. Richard is a very competitive team owner and that’s one of the reasons I really enjoy racing for him. He’s willing to make the changes that are necessary to keep us competitive and up-to-date with modern-day technology. I think the mindset at RCR is a lot different this year than last. Last year, we had just added the No. 30 America Online team and moved all three teams into one new shop. We had to make several transitions last season. With each team having more than 10 race cars, that’s a lot of work for the guys. But we plan on going from a top-20 team to a top-10 team this season.

“There is a big difference between the 2002 and 2003 Monte Carlos. The Cingular Wireless team had to re-learn the Monte Carlo at the Daytona test last month. We have to find the ‘sweet spot’ on the car again and I’ve got a lot of confidence in everyone at RCR that we’ll find that ‘sweet spot’ and perfect set-up for the 2003 car. From what we’ve seen so far on the downforce tracks and what our information has told us, the 2003 Chevrolet Monte Carlo has more front downforce than the 2002 car. There’s more improvement or gain that gets the car closer to a 50-50 balance on the front. With the new car, I think we’ll be able to experiment more with different shocks, springs and swaybars in all four corners than we were able to use before. That combination should make us a lot more competitive right out of the box, especially after we get away from the superspeedway tracks and on to the downforce tracks.”

Kevin Hamlin Quotes:

“A lot of how well you benefit from the Gatorade race depends on where you qualified for the 500. If your team is one of the first two cars locked into the race, then you can use the 125 to do a little bit more experimenting because you’re in a good spot and can be a little risky. So, the speed we post that first Sunday is going to dictate what we do during the 125 and how much we use it as a true practice race. We need to finish in the top 15 or so spots so we don’t have to worry about using a provisional to get into the 500. We’ll make sure during the week that the car drafts well and pulls up well to the other cars. It’s going to be very hard to pass anyway, because all the manufacturer makes are so similar now, and we’re going to have to have somebody else to help us out and go with us. There’s going to be a lot of patience needed from the drivers.

“We’ve made a lot of positive changes over the winter on the Cingular Wireless team and at Richard Childress Racing as a whole. We’ve got a new Monte Carlo, so we’re starting out with a bigger advantage than we had last season. We’ve made several personnel changes during the off-season and lined up ourselves to be stronger in the shop, at the track and on pit road on Sundays. We’ve gone from an over-the-wall pit crew that works on the car Friday through Sunday to a pit crew that shows up Sunday morning only. So, they should be rested up because they don’t work on the car all weekend. They will now have the time to have one more pit stop practice Friday at the shop before they leave for the track, and hopefully they’ll be great on race day.

“I think we’ve set ourselves up to run well this year and to win some races. We have to win a race this year. There really isn’t a reason why we can’t, either. Last year was just a big adjustment period and we think we’ve worked out a bunch of the wrinkles from the new shop and adding an additional team. As Richard Childress told us, he and Dale Earnhardt had a bad year and then came back and won the championship the next season. Everyone had counted them out and said they were a ‘has-been,’ but that was far from the truth. We expect RCR to come back strong this season.”

“At the Daytona test last month, we were really pleased with how well the Cingular car drafted. The drafting sessions were definitely the best part of the test for us. The car seemed to pull up to the other cars easily and handled well in our drafting runs. We tried some different front-end settings that I think are going to be beneficial for us in the race.

“I think the new Monte Carlo is going to be a good race car. I don’t have a good handle on it yet at the superspeedways to the point that I know exactly what to tweak on it to get speed out of the car. That was part of what we worked out at the test — if we move a fender, how does it change the car? If we move the A-Post or the C-Post a bit, how does it affect the car? The new Monte Carlo is going to be good on the downforce tracks and it will be good at the superspeedways, also. We just have to figure out exactly what we need for the superspeedways.”

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