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Weekly Racing Journal

Race/Date: Daytona 500/Feb. 16, 2003

(First of 36 races)

Location: Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway

Start Position: Third

Finish Position: Sixth

Points Position: Seventh

Race Recap:

Robby Gordon and the No. 31 Cingular Wireless team opened the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season Sunday with a strong car and a sixth-place finish in the Daytona 500. Good equipment and the know-how to use it are keys to success on the 2.5-mile superspeedway and Cingular Wireless Racing was up to the task Sunday.

Armed with a victory in Thursday’s Gatorade Twin 125 and a third-starting position, Gordon quickly hooked up to the draft and moved into the second spot by lap three. He carefully chose his line and remained in the top 10 until the first green-flag pit stop on lap 34. Team Cingular pitted for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments to loosen up the car’s handling. Unfortunately, the rear-tire changer slipped while running around the rear of the car and lost valuable seconds on pit road. Gordon returned to the track in the 23rd spot, the furthest back he would run the rest of the day.

The Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet was back in the fifth position following a fuel-only pit stop under caution on lap 44. NASCAR displayed the red flag after the completion of 63 laps for rain, with Team Cingular holding the fifth spot. The race resumed under caution roughly one hour later and Gordon brought the Cingular Wireless Chevrolet down pit road for two tires and fuel. Quick work in the pits moved Gordon into the fourth position. The green flag waved to begin racing on lap 68 and Gordon tried the high and low grooves on the track to find the best spot for his car to draft.

He soon hooked up with teammate Kevin Harvick and the two powered back into the top five again. Gordon continued to draft behind Harvick until the rain began returned on lap 109. NASCAR officials displayed the red flag and tried several times to dry the track but continuous rain forced them to call the race after the completion of 109 or 200-scheduled laps. Gordon was credited with the sixth position.

Robby Gordon Quotes:

"We had a great car today. I think I had a fast enough car and Kevin had a fast enough car, and I tried to work with him a lot there and we moved up through the field. Tony Stewart was also fast behind us. It looked like guys were getting tight and that’s how we were able to pass cars on the outside late in the run, but the biggest thing was staying on the bottom and protecting your line.

"The Cingular team is really happy with our finish today. It was pretty hairy out there so we’re glad the car is in one piece. I just wish we’d had a little more time because I think Kevin and I could’ve made a move for the lead and one of us won the race. But we showed that the Cingular team is strong and we’ve worked out all of the kinks from last season. It looks like RCR is back. We just need to keep running like this the rest of the year."