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Weekly Racing Journal

Race/Date: Carolina Dodge Dealers 400
(Fifth out of 36)
Location: Darlington (Darlington, S.C.) Raceway
Start Position: 30th
Finish Position: 28th
Points Position: 21st

Race Recap:
Darlington Raceway remains the track "Too Tough to Tame" for Robby Gordon and the No. 31 Cingular Wireless Team. In the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 it was all about being in the right place at the right time and Team Cingular did not have that luck this week.

After running 19th fastest in practice, Gordon qualified in the 30th spot for Sunday’s race. Using notes from previous Darlington races, Team Cingular found a good race trim package and picked up two spots in the first three laps. However, the No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet was caught behind some trouble on lap 12 and again on lap 23. Extensive damage was done to the nose of the car, forcing Team Cingular to make repairs throughout the race.

Quick, accurate work by Team Cingular’s pit crew allowed Gordon to remain on the lead lap for almost the entire first half of the 293-lap event. Excellent pit strategy permitted him to move up and run in the 23rd spot. Gordon was also able to pick up five championship points for leading a lap during a caution.

However, once the repairs began to deteriorate, so did the car’s handling. Unfortunately, on lap 78, Gordon radioed in that the car was tight and had no front downforce. Crew chief Kevin Hamlin made several adjustments and repairs over the next 40 laps before losing a lap to the leaders.

By lap 124 Gordon had fallen back into the 35th spot. Hamlin made several green-flag stops during the next 100 laps to improve the aerodynamics of the Cingular car. After several adjustments and replacing the right nose of the car, the conditions began to improve. With 13 cars two laps down and only nine cars on the lead lap, Gordon was still able to battle for position and pick up seven spots to finish in 28th place.

Robby Gordon Quotes:
"It was a tough day for Team Cingular. It’s all about track position at Darlington and we just didn’t have it. Early on we got into a few other cars while trying to check up after a spin out and did a lot of damage to the nose of the car. The guys did all they could to repair it but the damage was done. The Cingular car grew real tight and I just couldn’t get any downforce going into the corners. I think if we had stayed out of trouble we would have had a good shot at a top-ten finish."