March 2003 Random News

Moving Day
FORT WORTH, TX. (March 31)- - Jeff Gordon's move up the Winston Cup points standings continued as he posted a third place finish in the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Though circumstances kept him from challenging Ryan Newman for the victory, Gordon moved from 10th to 6th in the series standings and gained 15 points on Matt Kenseth who posted a solid sixth place finish at Texas. Gordon took the lead of the race from Kenseth with 100 laps remaining before coming onto pit road for a green flag pit stop. However, just two laps later the caution waved for Jimmy Spencer's spin. Gordon restarted in ninth at the tail end of the lead lap. He would make up the ground after another caution came out shortly after the restart. He moved up to fifth over the next 20 laps before Joe Nemechek slammed the turn three wall to bring out the day's final caution with 53 laps remaining. Gordon came onto pit road in fifth and left in third place after a 13.1 second pit stop. He swapped third place with Jerry Nadeau on the restart before setting his sights on the lead. Gordon and Earnhardt Jr had four fresh tires while Newman elected to change just two on the previous caution flag. Earnhardt Jr passed Newman for the top spot shortly after the restart but Newman kept the Budweiser Chevrolet in his sights. As the tires came up to temperature, Newman's Dodge hooked up to the track. With 11 laps remaining, Newman passed Earnhardt Jr for the race lead. Gordon closed in on Earnhardt Jr for the runner-up spot and pulled alongside entering turn three on the final lap. The pair made slight contact coming to the checkered flag with Earnhardt Jr less than two-hundredths of a second ahead of Gordon at the line. "It was a battle and we both had gotten tight," Gordon said. "I knew even if I got underneath him it was going to be difficult, and he made it pretty difficult on me. If we had been going for the win, I think we probably would've wrecked. But it was for second place and we both bumped and banged and had a little bit of fun. We had great pit stops today. Unfortunately the cautions just don't want to fall our way. One of these days they will and we'll win one."

Dream Cabinet?
NEW YORK, N.Y. (March 18)- - In the midst of a tense month in Washington D.C., last Saturday night provided some levity. For 118 years, politicians and the press have set aside a Saturday in March to laugh at and with each other. The occasion was the annual Gridiron Club white-tie affair. Journalists make fun of Democrats and Republicans alike with songs and skits. Then each party has a chance to respond in kind. Among the jokesters was Senator John Edwards from North Carolina, one of nine Democratic candidates for president in 2004. He poked fun at his own background as a wealthy trial lawyer. A video of his "Dream Cabinet" included Johnnie Cochran as Secretary of Defense and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon as Secretary of Transportation.

A Matter Of Inches
DARLINGTON, S.C. (March 17)- - The finish of the Carolina 400 at Darlington Raceway was one for the ages. With 27 laps remaining, Kurt Busch was running third behind Jeff Gordon and Elliott Sadler. After Gordon brushed the wall, he raced side by side with Sadler down the backstretch. Busch got a strong run off turn two and made a three wide pass entering turn three. As the laps wound down, Ricky Craven began closing in on Busch. With two laps remaining, Craven went low in turn one to try to pass Busch who held his line. The two cars made contact with Craven assuming the top spot. However, Busch would not be denied as he bumped his way past Craven in turn two. Craven regrouped and made his final challenge exiting turn four on the final lap. He dove low beneath Busch as the two drivers battled door to door on the frontstretch. They made hard contact as the nose of Craven's Pontiac inched ahead of Busch's Ford at the finish line. The margin of victory was a few inches-- which translated into two-thousandths of a second. It was Craven's second career victory and the closest Winston Cup race finish since electronic timing was introduced a decade ago.

100 Years Of Flight
HAMPTON, GA. (March 7)- - Jeff Gordon's Chevrolet will feature a special DuPont/100 Years of Flight paint scheme during the running of The Winston on May 17 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The scheme is a tribute to the 100-year anniversary of the Wright Brothers' inaugural flight. Wilbur and Orville Wright completed their vision of helping mankind soar through the skies on December 17, 1903 on the coastal sand of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. It took Flyer 1 a total of 12 seconds and 120 feet to accomplish something thought impossible: human flight and the birth of the aviation industry. In addition to on-track action in May, the DuPont/100 Years of Flight car will travel to airshows throughout the United States in the coming months and will be part of the countdown to the Kitty Hawk celebration in December 2003 in North Carolina. The paint scheme is a testament to the Wright Brothers' effect on mankind's technological pursuits. The car features the official Wright Brothers 100 Years of Aviation Celebration logo on its hood and the DuPont Imron aviation finishes brand on the deck lid. "In addition to the enormity of what flight has contributed to humankind in the last 100 years, I know that without flight this sport would not be possible at the level it is today because we would not be physically able to accomplish all that we currently do," Gordon said at the unveiling, which took place at Clayton County Airport- Tara Field, near Atlanta Motor Speedway. The ceremony was highlighted by guest appearances by Amanda Lane-Wright and Steve Wright, Wilbur and Orville's great-grand niece and nephew, as well as a replica of the Flyer 1 that managed four sustained, controlled flights over the Kitty Hawk sand in 1903.

Cookie Monster On Board
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (March 2)- - For the second consecutive year, Jeff Gordon will team up with Sesame Street to raise money for charity through the release of a special edition diecast car. Last year the popular character Elmo was featured on the car benefiting The Jeff Gordon Foundation. For 2003, Cookie Monster will be the Sesame Street character featured on the diecast car designed by Sam Bass. Once more, this specially designed collector's car will not be raced. Action Performance will produce the diecast replicas of the 2003 Jeff Gordon Foundation-Sesame Street Cookie Monster car in both 1:24 scale (order) and 1:64 scale (order), which will be released for sale in June. "I am thrilled to continue the Foundationís association with Sesame Street- one of the most beloved childrenís television programs. This popular program gives us the opportunity to help children through the on-going work of The Jeff Gordon Foundation," said Gordon.

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