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Event Preview Fact Sheet

Event/Date: Sharpie 500/Aug. 23, 2003
Venue: Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway

Robby Gordon’s NASCAR Winston Cup Performance History at Bristol Motor Speedway

Date

Start

Finish

Laps Completed/ Total Laps

Status

Money

3/23/03

36

17

498/500

Running

$89,527

8/24/02

30

20

498/500

Running

90,366

3/24/02

2

20

499/500

Running

85,331

8/26/00

13

41

121/500

Steering

27,500

3/26/00

40

32

473/500

Running

26,345

4/13/97

20

43

91/500

Accident

18,650

TOTALS Avg. Start: 23.5 Avg. Finish: 28.83 Laps: 2,180/3,000 Money: $337,719

NASCAR Winston Cup Points Position: 10th

NOTES:

  • This Week’s Race Car (chassis No. 116) was last run at Fontana as a brand-new car
  • The No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet will carry a special orange “reverse” paint scheme this weekend at Bristol
  • Gordon and the No. 31 Cingular Wireless team are scheduled to test at Milwaukee Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 18 and 19
  • Gordon is scheduled to participate in a media question-and-answer session Friday in the Bristol media center at 10:00 a.m.
  • Gordon has finished in the top 10 six out of the last eight races, including two victories
  • The Sharpie 500 will be broadcast live on TNT and PRN on Saturday, Aug. 23 at 7:30 p.m. EST. Qualifying is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 22 at 3:05 p.m. EST.

ROBBY GORDON QUOTES:

Bristol is down-and-dirty racing in a bullring. It’s racing at its best — short-track racing with high banks. I really have begun to like Bristol a lot. It’s one of my favorite tracks now. Every time we leave there, it seems like there’s a pit brawl brewing. You think ‘damn, that pissed me off. I want to get out of here.’ Then it’s ‘I can’t wait to go back to Bristol again. We’re going to win it next time.’ Bristol is just so much fun.

Bristol is a rush-hour interstate at 120 miles-per-hour. There’s 43 cars sitting right on top of each other, usually trying not to hit each other but wanting the next guy to get out of the way. It’s a little nerve-wracking to go around for 500 laps and hope the guy behind you or in front of you or beside you doesn’t make a mistake. Because then it’s your mistake, also.

“Surviving is the key to doing well at Bristol, just like it was at Darlington. But your team can put more work and effort into the Bristol race than any other team and still end up dead last at the end. Bristol is about survival but it’s also about luck. Too often it’s about being in the right place at the right time or the wrong place at the wrong time. One moment you can be leading and the next minute someone runs over you and puts you in the fence. The next thing you know, your guys are loading your car onto the hauler to go home. Bristol doesn’t seem like a very fair race track but I guess it all shakes out evenly over the years among the teams. I just hope we can look back after Bristol and say ‘that was a lot of fun and we learned a lot.’ If we can’t win the race, we have to accept what we’ve got and not overdrive the car.

Bristol is a track where you can get wrecked pretty hard and still fix your car and get back in the race. There are 500 laps, so if you’re 100 laps down and can get back in, you will. Everyone tries to keep their fenders on at Bristol but if they get sheared off in a wreck, you can still make laps there. You can’t do that as easily at Atlanta or Texas.

Bristol is a pretty rough track and the banking is very steep. When you come off pit road, you’ve got to be careful going up the banking. It’s so sharp that you can tear up the front valance when you get up on the banking. The Cingular Wireless Chevrolet almost has to tiptoe going up the banking coming off of turn one at Bristol. The biggest key to a good lap is getting back in the throttle at the right time. You think you’d have to drive it in as deep as you can, slide it in the corner and get back in the gas. But in reality, when it comes down to being quick, you have to lift off the gas a little early, get the car stuck down in the corner and get back to full throttle as soon as you can.

“I really like Bristol a lot. Track position and pit strategy are very important at Bristol because it’s hard to pass. If you don’t have a good race car and are in someone’s way, they’ll bump you out of the way the whole night. The ‘bump-and-run’ started at Bristol way back. The fans love it even if the fabricators don’t.

“Most of the tracks we run on are asphalt but Bristol is concrete. There’s a big difference between an asphalt track and a concrete track as far as a car’s grip is concerned. The track temperature doesn’t seem to change as much on concrete because it’s not a black surface that draws in the heat and makes a slicker surface. Concrete creates a more equal qualifying environment for everyone because the qualifying draw doesn’t matter so much based on the time of day. With asphalt tracks like Charlotte, you always want a later qualifying draw when the sun has gone down a bit because the track is usually faster then. But the concrete at Bristol is rough and there are a lot of seams in the surface, so shocks are very important for keeping the tires right on the track. Our shock specialist will be one of the busiest guys on the Cingular team this weekend at Bristol.

“The Cingular team continues to improve every single weekend and continues to better our finishes at each track every time we go back. We’ve scored five top-10 finishes in the past six races and plan on keeping that going. We’ve struggled at Michigan in the past but we qualified third and came back with a top-10 finish. We’re taking it one step at a time and trying really hard to dial our race set-up in. Communication between all of us is great and that is a huge plus for a race team as it grows and improves. We’ve got a while to go before the season is over but we’re getting closer and closer to our goal of a top-10 finish in the points and a place on the stage at the banquet in New York.”