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Weekly Racing Journal

Race/Date: New England 300/July 20, 2003
(19th of 36 races)
Location: New Hampshire International Speedway
Start Position: 15th (lined up according to points)
Finish Position: Fifth
Points Position: 14th

Add another top-five finish to Robby Gordon and the No. 31 Cingular Wireless team’s 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup stats. After losing second gear and battling a rough-handling car all day, the Cingular Wireless team was fifth across the finish line for the New England 300, marking the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing (RCR) team’s third top-five of the 2003 season and placing them just 22 points out of 10th place in the NASCAR Winston Cup points.

Winston Cup practice and qualifying was rained out Friday, so the teams took to the field Sunday afternoon according to points. Gordon started 15th, but a tight handling Cingular Wireless race car soon sent him back to 25th place by lap 16.

Pitting during the third caution, the team took fuel and made a track bar adjustment to loosen up the car. It was at this point Gordon first reported losing second gear. As the race continued, he eventually lost second gear completely and began struggling with a loose race car.

By lap 177, posting his fastest lap time of the day, Gordon was gaining speed. Almost 20 laps later, another caution presented an opportunity for the Cingular Wireless team they could not ignore. The team knew pit strategy was going to decide who would finish at the front of the field, therefore they decided to make a final pit stop during the caution, taking on right-side tires and fuel. Gordon returned to the field in 11th place.

During the next few cautions, the Cingular Wireless Chevy driver did not pit, soon propelling him into third place by lap 212. Saving gas during the cautions that followed his last pit stop, Gordon remained in the top five the rest of the day, landing a fifth-place finish with teammates Kevin Harvick finishing second and Steve Park eighth.
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Gordon Gordon Quotes:
"Kevin Hamlin made an awesome call today. We didn’t have a top-five car. We had about a 25th-place car. Any day you get out there with a 25th-place car and make it out of here with a top-five finish, it is total hats off to the team. We took a gamble with the gas mileage and it paid off for us today. Coming up here this weekend, we thought we would be real strong, but the track has changed a lot since I won here and for some reason we just couldn’t get off the corners. We had trouble getting into the corners and getting off all day. So, we have a little bit of work to do before we get back up here in September. Again, overall I’m real happy for the guys on this Cingular Wireless team, and for my teammates, Kevin and Steve. We gained some points this weekend and look forward to gaining more for a top-10 finish."