Weekly Racing Journal
Race/Date: Sharpie 500/August 23, 2003
(24th of 36 races)
Location: Bristol Motor Speedway
Start Position: 22nd
Finish Position: 35th
Points Position: 10th
Robby Gordon and the No. 31 Cingular Wireless
team spent the majority of Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway
maneuvering around cautions and overcoming one obstacle after the
next to just stay on the race track to gain as many points as possible.
Their efforts paid off as they walked away from the Sharpie 500
still 10th in NASCAR Winston Cup points.
Gordon had a great car at the beginning of the
race and was slowly gaining track position, moving from 22nd to
17th place. The Cingular Wireless team decided to pit on lap 67
during the second caution of the race. Taking only right-side tires
and fuel, the No. 31 Cingular Wireless driver began to pull away
from the pit stall as another car was coming in to pit and the two
Gordon exited pit road, but soon returned under
the same caution period to take left-side tires and see if any major
damage was made to the No. 31 after the contact. The Cingular Wireless
Chevy appeared to be fine, so Gordon got back on track and back
to green on lap 70 in 37th place.
Just past lap 130, the Cingular Wireless driver
was back to gaining track position when smoke began rolling out
of the back of the No. 31 Chevrolet. Gordon was black flagged by
NASCAR, requiring him to bring the Cingular Wireless Chevy to pit
road. The team took the car behind the wall and soon discovered
a torched rear gear.
The Cingular Wireless team repaired the race
car and had Gordon back in the race on lap 207 in 38th place. Gordon
was almost 70 laps down, but was determined to finish the race to
gain as many points as possible.
Less than 50 laps later, the No. 31 was back
behind the wall after Casey Mears bumped Gordon, sending him into
the wall, smashing the entire nose of the race car. The Cingular
Wireless crew removed the front housing of the car and returned
Gordon to the track on lap 299, almost 105 laps down in 39th place.
He finished 35th.
"I tried to do the best job I could and it just was not a good
night for the Cingular Wireless team. I mean, at the beginning of
the race I told the guys the car felt really great and we were slowly
gaining position, but that first pit stop we made seemed to set
the tone for the rest of the night. We finished pitting and I was
leaving the pit stall when another car came in to pit, we made contact
and then the No. 31 car wouldn’t roll. I thought the brakes were
messed up after that, but a few laps later we burned up the rear
gear. I don’t know. We overcame that obstacle and the next thing
I knew we were back behind the wall again after Casey Mears spun
me. At that point, it was all kind of funny, because it just didn’t