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Weekly Racing Journal

Race/Date: Chevy Rock & Roll 400/Sept. 6, 2003
(26th of 36 races)
Location: Richmond International Raceway
Start Position: 21st
Finish Position: 29th
Points Position: 13th (down one from 12th)

Less than five months ago at Richmond International Raceway (RIR), Robby Gordon and the No. 31 Cingular Wireless crew walked away with a hard-earned fourth-place finish, posting the top-five after coming back from being three laps down. History looked like it was going to repeat itself Saturday night at RIR for the Cingular Wireless team members, as they rebounded from one lap down and worked their way up to fourth place once again. But, with less than 20 laps to go, a late-race accident banished another happy ending at RIR as the No. 31 Chevrolet dropped from fourth to a disappointing 29th-place finish.

Gordon was battling a loose-handling race car in the opening laps of the Chevy Rock & Roll 400, when another car spun the No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet early in the race. The spin did not result in any major damage to the Chevrolet, but did put the No. 31 Cingular Wireless driver one lap down.

Patience and persistence eventually landed the No. 31 Cingular Wireless team in the 20th position by lap 144, returning the team to where it started the 400-lap race. Then, the eighth caution of the race gave the Cingular Wireless crew the opportunity it needed. Gordon was back on the lead lap and pitted for the fifth time to take four tires, fuel and to make chassis adjustments to improve the car’s handling.

The No. 31 Cingular Wireless driver pitted two more times, under yellow to take four tires and fuel on laps 270 and 291. The team’s pit strategy paid off. The No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet was fourth with less than 20 laps to go, but as the field was approaching turn three on lap 382, Jeff Burton punted the No. 31 Chevrolet into the wall, ending the night for the Cingular Wireless team on a very somber note and dropping Gordon to 13th-place in NASCAR Winston Cup points standings.

Gordon Quotes: "I am just really disappointed with what happened there at the end. I gave him room there. We had a really good car and I just feel sorry for my guys. We had a chance for a really strong finish for the Cingular Wireless Chevrolet. I love racing at Richmond and I know it is short track racing, but it is just really disappointing. I raced him clean and gave him plenty of room on the inside."