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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 made contact.

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.

Gordon Quotes: "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 matter anymore."