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Weekly Racing Journal

Race/Date: MBNA America 400/Sept. 21, 2003
(28th of 36 races)
Location: Dover (Del.) International Speedway
Start Position: 12th
Finish Position: 23rd
Points Position: 12th

After battling a severely tight race car that would not respond to numerous adjustments, the No. 31 Cingular Wireless team and Robby Gordon left Dover International Speedway with a 23rd-place finish, but are just 17 points out of 11th place, closing back in on the top 10 in the NASCAR Winston Cup points standings.

Sunday’s field for the MBNA America 400 was set according to owners’ points, with Gordon starting 12th, after Friday’s qualifying session was cancelled due to Hurricane Isabel’s presence in the area.

Less than ten laps into the race, Gordon radioed his Cingular Wireless teammates to alert them to the tight handling conditions. Despite these conditions, Gordon advanced the Cingular Wireless Chevrolet into the top ten by lap 25.

Then, as the tight conditions seemed to worsen, Gordon began to fall back in the field. By lap 65, the Cingular Wireless driver was no longer in the top 20, running 25th and one lap down, which was difficult to make up due to the new rule that prohibits racing back to the caution flag.

The Cingular Wireless crew pitted six times, all under caution, Sunday during the 400-lap event. The team took four tires and fuel during each stop and made chassis adjustments almost every time. The stubborn handling race car did not seem to respond to the team’s efforts until the last portion of the race. As a result, the Cingular Wireless Chevy spent the majority of the day just outside of the top 25, but Gordon managed to race into the 23rd position by the time the checkered flag waved.

Gordon Quotes:

“We just didn’t have it this weekend. We didn’t practice well Saturday and didn’t run well today. The Cingular Wireless Chevrolet just didn’t respond to the changes we were making. It was discouraging. It seemed like we were on to something after our fourth stop, but with the new caution rule there was no way we were going to be able to get our laps back. I thought the new tires seemed to help there for a bit toward the end, too, but I don’t know. It doesn’t matter now. I am happy for Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 team. I wish I could say the same for us right now, but we are just not having good runs lately, and I just feel bad for the Cingular Wireless team because every one of them works so hard. So, I say let’s go home and get ready for Talladega. Hopefully, we will be able to turn things around and still get back in the top 10 in points before we wrap up the season.”