31 Cingular Wireless
Date: Aug. 30, 2003
Location/Event: Darlington (S.C.) Raceway/Mountain Dew Southern
Points Position: 12th (dropped two spots in the standings)
Darlington Raceway has earned its nicknames, the Track Too Tough
to Tame and The Lady in Black, over the past 54 years because of
the difficulty in getting around the 1.366-mile, egg-shaped oval.
High hopes for a top-10 finish in the Southern
500 came to an abrupt end with 35 laps remaining in the 367-lap
contest when a flat right-rear tire forced ninth-place running Robby
Gordon and the Cingular Wireless Chevrolet into the wall outside
turn one. The team made repairs to get the car back onto the track
but a harder shot into the wall with less than 30 laps remaining
ended the team’s day.
Gordon had made a steady charge through the field
from his 25th qualifying position. He moved into 20th place by lap
30 and into 15th on lap 59. Patience and strong pit stops kept him
in the top 15 throughout the middle and later stages of the race.
Gordon cracked the top 10 on lap 282, dropped back to 11th on lap
286 but moved back into 10th on lap 302.
The Cingular Wireless team was seventh with 50
laps to go and had settled into a solid ninth-place run to the checkered
flag when the right-rear tire went flat on lap 332.
"We cut a tire or something. We didn’t hit the wall so I must
have run over something. I went down into turn one and the car just
got completely sideways on me. I’m really disappointed because the
Cingular Wireless Chevy was running really well and it looked like
we were set to finally get a good finish here."