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Weekly Racing Journal

Race/Date: Virginia 500/April 13, 2003

(ninth of 36 races)

Location: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway

Start Position: 38th

Finish Position: 21st

Points Position: 14th

Race Recap:

Slow and steady may not have won on Sunday but it did help Robby Gordon and the No. 31 Cingular Wireless team complete the race with their best finish at Martinsville Speedway.

The Richard Childress Racing (RCR) machine practiced well on Saturday after taking a provisional to enter the Virginia 500. Team Cingular thought they had found a set-up that would help the team move through the field during the 500-lap event; however, they ended up battling a loose condition most of the day.

Within the first 60 laps of the race, Gordon moved up 11 spots to run 23rd. Team owner Richard Childress came on the radio and reminded Gordon that patience is a virtue on the .526-mile oval and that his fenders and his brakes are his two best friends. Unfortunately, shortly after, the Cingular car’s condition began to deteriorate. On lap 64 Gordon radioed in he was having a difficult time getting the tires to stick to the track in the corners because the car was developing a loose condition.

The first caution flag came out on lap 79 and Gordon came down pit road for adjustments to the car. Crew chief Kevin Hamlin called for fuel, four fresh tires and chassis adjustments. The team gained one spot on pit road to exit 21st. The adjustments worsened the car’s condition and on lap 106 Gordon began to lose track position. By the second caution on lap 119, he had fallen into the 24th spot. Gordon again came down pit road for fuel, four tires and chassis adjustments. Quick work by the Cingular pit crew gained the team four spots on the track.

Hamlin tried several more chassis adjustments during the next few cautions but nothing would tighten the car. With Gordon falling as far back as 27th, Hamlin called for the rear traction bar to be completely unhooked from the chassis as a final measure. Just before the restart Gordon radioed in that the car’s handling felt better. He said that the car had needed a real big change and this might be the right adjustment. Team Cingular began to gain positions on the track. Although the car’s handling was still loose, Gordon was able bring the Cingular Wireless Chevrolet home to a 21st-place finish.

Robby Gordon Quotes:

“The No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet started out really good today. We made it almost all the way up into the top 20 in the first 50 or so laps of the race. The handling just went downhill after that, though. The car was real loose for most of the day. We made a big change toward the middle of the race, when my crew chief Kevin Hamlin decided to unhook the rear track bar all together. The Cingular Chevrolet seemed to get better after that and we were able to finish 21st.”