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Cingular Wireless Racing

Weekly Racing Journal

Race/Date: Old Dominion 500

Location: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway

Start Position: 12th

Finish Position: 23rd

Points Position: 20th

Race Recap:

Track position has been a key factor in most of the NASCAR Winston Cup races this season and Sunday’s Old Dominion 500 at Martinsville Speedway was no different. Unfortunately, Robby Gordon and the No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet team saw how track position works for and against a team Sunday in the 500-lap race.

The Cingular Wireless Chevrolet handled well from the start of the race and Gordon put it in the eighth position by lap 43. Knowing that tire wear was going to be a factor on the newly grooved race track, Team Cingular pitted under caution on lap 44 for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments to loosen up the car’s handling. Not all teams pitted and some took only two tires, so Gordon returned to the race track in the 12th spot.

Crew chief Kevin Hamlin’s four-tire call was a good one because Gordon soon maneuvered through the field and claimed the fifth position by lap 77. The team pitted again for four tires and fuel on lap 102. Quick work in the pits gained Gordon two spots and returned him to racing in the fourth spot.

The Cingular Wireless machine continued to be strong and posted some of the fastest laps on the track. Gordon put it in the third position by lap 111 and held the second spot by lap 158. The tables turned on Team Cingular on lap 207, though, when Gordon followed leader Tony Stewart into the pits under caution. Very few teams pitted and Gordon was 19th when the restart was given. Mired back in heavy traffic, the Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet began handling tightly. Gordon struggled to find a good line for the car and fell as far back as 32nd. But the team continued to work on the set-up and improved the car. Excellent pit stops and pit strategy helped Gordon work his way back through the pack in the closing laps but he had lost too much track position to contend for the win. Gordon crossed the finish line in the 23rd position.

Robby Gordon Quotes:
"Track position was everything today. We were a little concerned about what the tire situation would be like after the track surface was grooved. So, we took four tires each time we pitted. The Cingular Wireless car was absolutely awesome the first 200 laps. I didn’t have to drive it very hard and concentrated on running a good line but saving my car for the end of the race. But we made a bad decision and pitted with Tony Stewart under caution, thinking that everyone else would also pit. But they didn’t and we ended up midway back in the field. The car didn’t like running behind other cars in heavy traffic and we struggled with it the rest of the race. We did manage a decent finish, though, but it wasn’t what we thought we were capable of.”