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Weekly Racing Journal

Race/Date: MBNA Armed Forces Family 400/June 1, 2003

Location: Dover (Del.) International Speedway

Start Position: 38th

Finish Position: Ninth

Points Position: 10th (gained two positions)

Race Recap:

Robby Gordon and the No. 31 Cingular Wireless team broke into the top 10 in the NASCAR Winston Cup point standings Sunday at Dover (Del.) International Speedway with a ninth-place finish after battling back from the rear of the field.


Gordon started the 400-lap event at a disadvantage after the NASCAR-mandated telemetry equipment fell underneath his feet in the car during the pace laps. The team pitted to remedy the problem but Gordon fell to the rear of the field before he even took the green flag. The first caution flag waved on lap two and Gordon drove over debris that flattened his right-front tire during the incident that brought out the caution. He pitted on lap four for fresh tires but still managed to gain seven positions to 35th.

Gordon soon radioed in that the Cingular car was very good but slightly tight exiting the corners. Team Cingular pitted under caution on lap 40 for two tires, chassis adjustments and fuel, gaining 12 spots to 19th. Those chassis adjustments fine-tuned the car just enough to enable Gordon to post laps as fast as the leaders and he powered into the 15th spot by lap 100. Gordon led three laps of the race following a pit stop on lap 116 but the Richard Childress Racing (RCR) machine was too loose on new tires and Gordon slipped back to 16th by lap 139. Crew chief Kevin Hamlin and Team Cingular continued to work on the handling and Gordon claimed the 11th position by lap 219. He moved into the 10th place 60 laps later and pitted for the final time with nine laps remaining for four fresh tires to give him more grip for the final shootout. That strategy paid off and Gordon picked up two positions in the final two laps to bring home a ninth-place finish.

Robby Gordon Quote

"What a run for the Cingular Wireless Chevrolet. We have needed a top 10 for a long time and have been good enough to get it, but bad luck or circumstances have bitten us lately. We started out too loose on new tires today but every time the fuel burned off, we had an awesome race car. We slowly worked our way back up through the field after dropping to the back during the pace laps when the telemetry equipment fell off and started dangling down under the gas pedal. We had to pit even before the race started but didn’t give up and kept working at it. The Cingular team gave me slight chassis adjustments and tire pressure adjustments throughout the race that allowed us to post laps as fast as the leaders. The only problem we had was near the end when we didn’t need any handling problems. The car got really tight on those long, green-flag runs late in the race and we lost some track position. But we took four tires on that last stop because we didn’t have anything to lose and that gave us enough to get past two cars in the final lap. We picked up a lot of ground in the points to 10th. We just need to stay consistent and it will come to us. We made a goal at the beginning of the year to finish in the top 10 in points and we’re slowly inching our way there. But it was a great run for us. We struggled all weekend long. We knew what our problem was, but unfortunately we found it with about ten minutes left in Saturday’s practice, so we knew we were going to be pretty good today. I’m very proud of everyone on this Cingular Wireless team. They worked their guts out."