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Race/Date: Ford 400/Nov. 16, 2003
(36th of 36 races)
Location: Homestead-Miami Speedway
Start Position: 39th
Finish Position: 30th
Points Position: 16th

The recent renovations to the Homestead-Miami Speedway definitely resulted in some exciting racing Sunday afternoon as the Cingular Wireless team wrapped up its final NASCAR Winston Cup Series race of the season, holding onto 16th place in the 2003 championship point standings.

Robby Gordon and the Cingular Wireless crew started the day with a strong run, moving from 39th place up to 20th after an early-race caution on lap three.

From that point on, Gordon and crew continued to gain better position on the track. Taking advantage of the second caution flag of the day on lap 28, the Cingular Wireless team made its first pit stop to take four tires and fuel and to pull a half round of rubber out of the right front to try to loosen up the slightly tight-handling No. 31 Chevrolet. The race was back to green on lap 30 with Gordon running in 19th place.

After staying in the top-25 for more than 50 laps, the Cingular Wireless driver pitted for the second time of the day during the third caution to take right-side tires and fuel. The quick stop projected Gordon into the 12th position. Less than 10 laps later, Gordon pitted quickly under the fourth caution to address concern regarding the right-front tire. The team took four fresh tires and fuel. Back to green-flag racing on lap 85, the No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet was in 32nd place. With the fresh tires on board, Gordon charged forward.

The No. 31 Chevy began to tighten up on Gordon again, as he was approaching the 100th lap of the 267-lap event. The Cingular Wireless Chevrolet began to fall back in the field outside the top 25, then the fifth caution flag waved on lap 120 and gave the No. 31 Cingular Wireless team the little time they needed to take right-side tires and fuel and to make minor chassis adjustments to improve the handling of the race car. Just 7.22 seconds later, Gordon’s team had him back on track and running inside the top ten.

Five laps later, the entire mood of the Cingular Wireless team changed as they watch the No. 31 Chevrolet fall back through the field once more. Gordon radioed the team he was battling a problem with the transmission, which did not want to stay in fourth gear. Gordon returned to pit road, so the team could use a bungee cord to tie back the stripped gear shift as the rest of the field continued to lap the race track.

Gordon returned to the field with a little more than 110 laps to go, eight laps down in 34th place.

The remaining laps Gordon and team worked to gain as much ground as possible, hoping they could hang onto 16th in the championship points and they did just that. Gordon finished 30th with his teammate Kevin Harvick finishing second and fifth in points and teammate Steve Park finishing 19th and 32nd in points.

Gordon Quotes:

“I just want to thank the Cingular Wireless team for this year. We had two great wins and three, if you count the 125 in Daytona. They all worked so hard and continued to work hard even when we weren’t running the best. I wish we could have wrapped up the year on a less somber note, but I guess that’s what we were dealt and we did the best we could. One thing for sure is this track is fast and that’s the way I like it. I just wish we could have had a little more fun with it today. But we did hold onto 16th in the point positions so I’ll take it.”