Weekly Racing Journal
Race/Date: GFS Marketplace 400/August 17, 2003
(23rd of 36 races)
Location: Michigan International Speedway
Start Position: Third
Finish Position: Sixth
Points Position: 10th
Finishing sixth in Sunday’s GFS Marketplace 400
at Michigan International Speedway (MIS), Robby Gordon spent the
majority of the race battling a loose-handling race car, but he
did not let that deter him or the No. 31 Cingular Wireless crew
from posting their best finish at MIS. Together they recorded their
10th top ten of 2003, and strengthened their 10th-place position
in the NASCAR Winston Cup point standings.
Gordon qualified third at MIS Friday and practiced
well for Sunday’s race. As things got underway on race day, the
Cingular Wireless driver proceeded to maintain position in the top
ten almost the entire first half of the 200-lap event.
When the fourth caution of the race was displayed
on lap 78, the Cingular Wireless team made its third pit stop of
the day to take on right-side tires, fuel and to make a slight track
bar adjustment to try to tighten up the No. 31 Chevy for Gordon.
For the first time in the race, the Cingular Wireless Chevrolet
returned to the field outside the top ten in 19th place.
Less than 10 laps after pitting, Gordon reported the car was still
very loose and he was continuing to lose track position. Then, the
fifth caution flag of the day came out on lap 90. The No. 31 Cingular
Wireless team pitted for the fourth time to top off the fuel and
make another track bar adjustment to tighten up the car. The No.
31 Chevy driver was back on track in the top ten.
The Cingular Wireless Chevrolet team continued
to maintain a top-ten position the majority of the second half of
the race, making its seventh and final pit stop under yellow on
lap 148 to take on four fresh tires and fuel. When the field went
back to green on lap 150, Gordon was 14th and did not waste any
time moving up to eighth by lap 153.
As the race came to a close, some of the front
runners ran out of gas, but the Richard Childress Racing teams did
not, as they crossed the finish line almost consecutively. Kevin
Harvick finished second, Steve Park fifth and Gordon sixth.
Gordon Quotes: "It was a good run
for us all in all. I raced Steve Park pretty hard, that was kind
of fun. It is what it is. We just continue to get better and better
as a team, the cars are getting better and we’re scoring more points,
so that’s a good thing. I was pretty happy with our pit strategy
today, too. I was trying to get a little gutsy there, a little brave,
but it was a good run for us all and all. The guys keep making the
good calls and I just keep following their lead. Another top ten
is exactly what we needed to keep our momentum up. It’s a great
day for my guys, as well as the 29 and 30 guys. Three top-ten finishes
for RCR … you can’t beat that."