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Weekly Racing Journal

Race/Date: Brickyard 400/August 3, 2003
(21st of 36 races)
Location: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Start Position: 13th
Finish Position: Sixth
Points Position: 11th (from 12th last week)

A combination of great pit strategy and timely cautions gave Robby Gordon and the No. 31 Cingular Wireless team exactly what they needed to complete the Brickyard 400 with a sixth-place finish Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, posting Gordon’s best stock car finish at the historic track and moving him to just 25 points out of the top 10.

After qualifying 13th and running the fastest in Happy Hour Saturday, Gordon knew the No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet could help him get good track position and he was right. Less than one lap into the race, Gordon moved up to eighth place.

Nearing lap 30, Gordon told his crew he thought he had a flat right-rear tire after the No. 31 and No. 48 Chevrolets made brief contact. It was not flat, but to avoid a blown tire the team opted to pit early on lap 35, taking four tires, fuel and making a slight track bar adjustment to loosen up the car. A problem with the catch can prolonged the stop, returning Gordon to the field a lap down in 25th place.

Gordon was not a lap down for long, as the second caution of the day came out around lap 46, giving him the opportunity he needed to get back on the lead lap, and for the No. 31 crew to make a smart yellow-flag pit stop for gas only.

The No. 31 Chevy was running 17th by the time the third caution was displayed. Having pitted earlier for fresh tires around lap 85, the Cingular Wireless crew made another yellow-flag pit stop for gas only and Gordon was back on track in second place and took the lead when the field returned to green on lap 110.

By lap 137, the Cingular Wireless driver was still in the top five, but old tires were challenging his control of a very loose race car. Then, debris on the track brought out a fourth and fortunate caution for the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing (RCR) team, as they pitted for right-side tires and fuel, completing the stop in less than 10 seconds.

Back to green with less than 10 laps to go, Gordon was second with teammate Kevin Harvick in the lead. Struggling with a tight race car, the Cingular Wireless driver fought to maintain a top-10 position and to hold off the competition so Harvick could extend his lead to claim his first Brickyard victory.

Gordon Quotes:
"It was a decent run for us all and all. I am very pleased my teammate Kevin Harvick won and that we could bring another top-10 finish home for the Cingular Wireless team. I thought we were going to be one and two there for a while, but the car just kept getting tighter and tighter and didn’t want to turn. I’m a little disappointed, but that’s the way things go around this place. For some reason we don’t have the best luck. We got lapped earlier and we had to fight back. I’m very pleased with all the guys, because it was great strategies that got us back in great position. I’m a little disappointed we didn’t win, because we came here to win, but that’s the way the ball bounces sometimes."