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Martinsville Recap

Race/Date: Subway 500/Oct. 19, 2003

(32nd of 36 races)

Location: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway

Start Position: 37th (Provisional)

Finish Position: 36th

Points Position: 16th (dropped one position)

Starting the race at Martinsville Speedway Sunday with an upset stomach, Robby Gordon had to receive two liters of fluid and food intravenously to counteract food poisoning he had suffered the night before. As the 500-lap event got underway, no one could tell anything was ailing Gordon, as he worked his way from 37th to seventh place by lap 374. However, by the end of the day the entire Cingular Wireless team left the speedway sick in the stomach as hopes for a top-five finish, or possibly a fourth win, and a big boost in the point standings, were diminished when Gordon got caught up in a late, lapped-traffic accident resulting in a 36th-place finish for the No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet.

The first 50 laps of the Subway 500 were caution free, but the race track soon resembled a junkyard as a total of 15 caution flags were displayed throughout the race.

Gordon and the Cingular Wireless team worked to improve the handling of their very loose No. 31 Chevrolet the first 60 laps of the race, going a lap down in the process. But they were not a lap down long, as the Cingular Wireless teammates’ fast pit stop and aggressive driving positioned the No. 31 Chevy to get back on the lead lap by the time the second caution flag waved.

The No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet continued to climb up through the field, as Gordon patiently maneuvered the No. 31 Chevy around lapped traffic and the Cingular Wireless team kept completing fast and efficient pit stops. When the eighth caution flag waved on lap 231, the No. 31 Cingular Wireless team was 11th and knocking on the door of the top 10. Almost 80 laps later, Gordon was in 10th position right behind teammate Kevin Harvick.

The Cingular Wireless team pitted for the seventh time during the 10th caution of the day on lap 355 to take four fresh tires and fuel and to make minor chassis and air pressure adjustments. The field returned to green on lap 363 with the No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet in eighth place. Less than 10 laps later, Gordon was seventh.

The day came to an abrupt halt on lap 387 for the Cingular Wireless team when the lapped cars of the No. 77 and No. 54 teams got together right in front of the No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet. There was nowhere for Gordon to go, resulting in a severely smashed nose of the No. 31 Chevy.

The Cingular Wireless team went to work behind the wall to repair the radiator and to remove the entire front housing of the wrecked race car, but Gordon was surprisingly back on track less than 30 laps later on lap 415 to finish the race 36th.

Gordon Quotes:

“It’s just an unfortunate day for the Cingular Wireless team. It’s one of those days you leave scratching your head, because we struggled there in the beginning, then we bounced back and I know a couple of us thought we were on our way to winning here today. Then, it was over just like that. But, I guess that’s Martinsville and racing. Too bad lapped traffic got in our way there, but it is what it is. They were trying to get back on the lead lap, so I kind of understand what they were doing, but they go banging each other up and we get taken out by it.”