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
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.
“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.”