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Gordon Ready for 'Tricky' Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (May 12, 2005) - Racing compared to qualifying at Richmond International Raceway? The difference is night and day.

For the second consecutive week, NASCAR will impound the cars after Friday afternoon’s qualifying session in preparation for Saturday night’s Chevy American Revolution 400 at Richmond.  The new impound procedure, instituted at many events this year, has created a learning curve for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup crew chiefs.

The challenge is to qualify well during the heat of the day to secure valuable track position on the short track and ensure a good pit stall selection, without sacrificing race speed.

“We haven’t qualified as well as we would have liked in these impound races, and I think that definitely hurt us at Atlanta,” said Robbie Loomis, crew chief on the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolets. “We missed a little bit on our qualifying setup there, and that led to Jeff (Gordon) being involved in that Lap 1 accident.

“There’s definitely a learning curve for all of us, and I’m sure we’ll get more comfortable with it each and every race where it is implemented. Hopefully, we can provide a car for Jeff that is quick in qualifying, and quick in the race.”

While the crew chief will be facing difficult setup decisions, Jeff Gordon expects to face difficult track conditions.

“It’s definitely going to be a challenge,” said Gordon, who became the first driver to surpass $70 million in career Cup earnings with his second-place finish at Darlington Raceway last week. “The track will be completely different during qualifying, and I expect you’ll see a lot of guys slipping and sliding through their run.”

In 24 starts at Richmond, the four-time Cup champion has amassed two victories, four poles, 10 top-fives and 16 top-10s. Gordon, who has vaulted from 12th to second in the point standings over the past five races, is the only driver to post three straight top-10 finishes at the 0.75-mile track.

“It’s been an up-and-down year for us,” Gordon said. “We have three victories including the Daytona 500, but have struggled with the setup at some tracks. With the new Chase format, this is the time of year you want to put yourself and team into a strong top-10 position in the points.

“I love racing at Richmond, but I don’t want to come back here in September for the final race before the Chase still trying to lock up a spot.”


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