Robby Gordon will hope for an improvement on his last visit to Richmond when the NASCAR Nextel cup returns to the track this weekend.

Gordon, who jumped back into the top 20 in the points standings with ninth in the Pop Secret 500, hit problems early on in the last race at Richmond which he didn't recover from - something he wants to avoid this time around.

"Team Cingular had a great qualifying effort [sixth place] at Richmond the last time we were there," he said. "It was my best start there since I came on board with RCR in 2001. We had good practices the entire weekend, too, so we were all feeling good going into Saturday night, but then we got the mysterious flat tyre on the first lap of the race and that sent us from the front of the pack to the back, one lap down.

"We rebounded and got that lap back, but all of that happened in the first 15 laps of the race. When that much goes down in such a short period of time, it was distracting for all of us. We had to regroup and regain focus, but Richmond is definitely one of the tracks where you don't want to get back into a double-digit position with a three or a four in front of it, because the leader will be on your tail and in front of you before you know it.

"That early-race incident really seemed to set the pace for us the remainder of night. After that, I cut another tyre down and hit the wall, then fell short on gas a little later, but I was luckily on pit road and still made it to the pit stall. We just seemed to lose our rhythm too early on in the game."

Crew chief Chris Andrews is looking for a strong result from the #31 car - as he noticed something that has happened throughout the season on the circuits that the series has visited more than once.

"An interesting reoccurrence I've observed about Robby and the entire Cingular Wireless racing team this year is the second time seems to be the charm for us," he said. "If you look at all the tracks we have visited twice so far this year, we always come home with a better finish the second time around. I hope Richmond keeps up that type of continuity for us. I definitely could go without any type of replays from our last visit there.

"Richmond is one of my favorite tracks and I always look forward to going there. I think Saturday night is going to be very exciting for the fans and the competitors. We all want to see how it all plays out, but I also think there is going to be some conservative driving, as well. It's short track racing and that is good news to some, but not so good for others who are in contention right now to be in The Chase."



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