Checker Auto Parts 500
Phoenix International Raceway
Robby Gordon and the No. 31 Cingular Wireless team usually run well
at flat race tracks, but Phoenix International Raceway presented
some unique challenges to the team Sunday.
The Cingular Wireless
Chevrolet was a little loose in the opening laps but Gordon radioed
that the car was still good. Team Cingular pitted under caution
on lap 29 for two tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments to tighten
up the handling. Quick work in the pits coupled with the two-tire
decision catapulted Gordon from the 12th spot to the second. But
the Richard Childress Racing machine did not fare well on two fresh
tires and the handling was immediately too loose. The team decided
to take four tires in each future pit stop, but Gordon was forced
to stick it out for over 100 laps. He tried running the high and
the low grooves to determine the best line for his car, but fell
to the 26th position by lap 93 in the 312-lap event.
Gordon brought the Cingular
car in for service under caution on lap 135 and received four tires,
fuel and chassis adjustments. The adjustments improved the car’s
performance a bit and Gordon moved up to the 23rd spot by lap 185.
Gordon posted lap times comparable to the leaders early in a run,
but with the sun setting, track conditions changing and wear on
the tires, his lap times fell off as the handling went away on the
Cingular Wireless machine.
Gordon continued to work
on finding the best line on the track and hitting his marks. He
crossed the finish line in the 27th position and held on to 20th-place
in the points standings.
Robby Gordon Quotes:
"We didn’t have the day we were looking for at Phoenix. We
had a great qualifying run with the Cingular car but struggled in
race trim most of the weekend. We don’t really understand it because
we’re usually really good on the flat tracks. Phoenix was definitely
a huge disappointment for us, but we are looking ahead to Homestead
already. We’ve had some great runs this season and we hope to finish
the year on a high note next weekend."