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Cingular Wireless Racing
Weekly Race Report

Race/Date: Nov. 17, 2002/Ford 400 (36 of 36 races)
Location: Homestead-Miami Speedway
Start Position: 39th
Finish Position: 26th
Points Position: 20th (final)

Race Recap:
Robby Gordon and the No. 31 Cingular Wireless team closed out Gordon’s first full NASCAR Winston Cup Series season at Richard Childress Racing (RCR) Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, while legendary RCR gasman Danny "Chocolate" Myers said good-bye to a long career on the pit crew.

The NASCAR Winston Cup competitors started Sunday’s race on a totally green race track after torrential rain and thunderstorms pounded the Homestead area Saturday evening, followed up with light rain most of Sunday morning. Green race tracks often create slick, hazardous driving conditions due to lack of tire rubber on the track. Sunday was no different, as the 267-lap event opened with an accident on the second lap.

The Cingular Wireless team made an early attempt to set itself up for a fuel mileage race by pitting for fuel only during that caution period, sending Gordon back onto the track in the 41st position. Despite a tight-handling race car, he maneuvered his way into the 33rd position by lap 20. Team Cingular opted for some drastic chassis adjustments that took a little more time during a yellow-flag pit stop on lap 63. Gordon returned to the track in the 35th position but was soon posting lap times consistent with the leader.

The RCR machine began to develop a loose condition exiting the turns and crew chief Kevin Hamlin worked on improving the handling during the next couple of pit stops. Gordon moved up to the 29th position by lap 114, but the sun began to peek from behind the clouds for the first time since Friday and presented the team with new challenges concerning the set-up. The Cingular team continued to adjust on the car throughout the race and Gordon moved into the 28th spot by lap 201. He soon posted laps as fast as the leader and radioed the crew that the car was the best it had been all day. Gordon picked his way through a couple of late-race accidents that brought out the final caution periods of the day.

During Chocolate Myers’ final pit stop of his career, Team Cingular pitted on lap 230 for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments. The 54-year-old followed that up with a live interview during NBC’s race broadcast, after which the Cingular team members doused him with a cooler full of water as a parting gift. Racing resumed and Gordon crossed the finish line in the 26th position. That finish secured his 20th position in the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup points championship.

Robby Gordon Quotes:
"The Cingular team struggled all weekend at Homestead. This wasn’t how we wanted to end the season. We were hoping for a really strong finish for the final race to gain some momentum heading into Daytona next year. But all the RCR teams struggled today. We’ve got a new Chevrolet Monte Carlo for next year and we’re working hard on testing and tweaking it to make it just as competitive as the Fords, Dodges and Pontiacs were this year. We think we’re going to really have something for them next year on the race track. But all in all, the Cingular team had a respectable season. No, we didn’t meet all the goals we had set but we had some really good runs and would have been even higher in the points if we hadn’t gotten involved in someone else’s wrecks earlier in the year. The Cingular Wireless team will take what we’ve learned this year and put it toward next year so we’re strong out of the box at Daytona in February."