Weekly Racing Journal
19th (qualifying rained out; starting field
set based on
Staying out of someone else’s trouble is half
the battle in a Winston Cup race and it was a battle that Robby
Gordon and the No. 31 Cingular Wireless team lost late in Sunday’s
UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
Bad weather wreaked havoc on the race activities all weekend, raining
out Thursday’s qualifying session and forcing NASCAR officials to
set the starting field based on owner points.
It was the same story Sunday. Heavy, persistent
rain postponed the start of the race by about three-and-a-half hours.
Finally, Gordon and the other drivers took the green flag about
4 p.m., preparing for a race under the lights on a green race track
with conditions much different than during Saturday’s Happy
Hour practice session.
Gordon patiently worked with the Cingular Wireless Chevrolet during
the opening laps, radioing crew chief Kevin Hamlin that the car
was tight. The race went green for the first 137 laps, allowing
the leader to easily put cars down one lap that weren’t handling
well. Gordon lost one lap on lap 50 but Team Cingular continued
to work on the race car to loosen it up. Gordon fought his way back
into the 27th position by lap 219 and the caution flag waved the
following lap. The team pitted for four tires and chassis adjustments
and good pit work picked up a couple of positions on the track for
Gordon. Gordon soon radioed the crew the car was the best it had
been all night and he thought he could now move it through the field
But all that hard work soon went up in a puff
of smoke and debris. On lap 230, the No. 26 car drove underneath
two other cars and into the tri-oval grass, triggering a 10-car
pile-up that involved the Cingular Wireless Chevrolet, as well as
Gordon’s two Richard Childress Racing teammates. Gordon pulled the
car into the garage, where the crew determined the damage was too
great to safely return to racing. He was credited with the 38th
Gordon re-aggravated a previous injury to his
left ankle in Sunday’s accident but a doctor’s examination
at the infield care center determined there was no further injury.
Gordon was immediately released and went back to the garage to speak
with his crew.
Robby Gordon Quotes:
“I’m not really sure what happened.
All I know is they were crashing in front of me. I tried to slow
down and somebody clipped me in the back and turned me around backwards.
It’s really disappointing. The Cingular team was trying to
get a decent result out of our day and keep moving up in the points.
But someone else’s mistake cost us a decent finish.
“I’m okay after the crash but my left
foot is hurt a little bit. It’s just a little sore — but
it’s going to be fine.”