Weekly Racing Journal
Race/Date: Virginia 500/April 13, 2003
(ninth of 36 races)
Martinsville (Va.) Speedway
Start Position: 38th
Finish Position: 21st
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
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 carâs 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 carâs 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 carâs 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 carâs handling was still loose, Gordon was able bring
the Cingular Wireless Chevrolet home to a 21st-place
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.”