24 JEFF GORDON, Chevrolet

Team: Hendrick Motorsports

WHERE HE STANDS: Jeff Gordon remained atop the Sprint Cup standings for the third straight week, 11 of the last 12 weeks and 17 of the last 18 weeks. He leads Hendrick Motorsports teammate and second-ranked Dale Earnhardt Jr. by 21 points and holds a 78-point edge over third-ranked Matt Kenseth.

RICHMOND RECORD: 43 career starts, 2 wins, 17 top-5s, 27 top-10s, 6 poles. Best career finish: First in spring 1996 and late summer 2000. Finished eighth in this race last year and was second in this year's spring race there.

LOOKING AHEAD: Status quo. That's what Gordon must maintain Saturday at Richmond. If none of the five drivers currently tied with three wins each fails to win at Richmond, Gordon would likely start the Chase reseeded in the No. 1 spot.

"You always look forward to visiting a track when you ran well there the previous race," Gordon said. "We had a great car there in April and led a lot of laps, but Richmond has always been hit or miss for us. I'm just glad this weekend isn't going to be as stressful as years past when we had to race our way into the Chase at Richmond."

LOOKING BACK: Gordon started strong until he blew a tire and was involved in a wreck early at Atlanta. He managed to come back from two laps down to finish 17th and also on the lead lap.

ETC.: Gordon has completed 93.3 percent (16,062) of the 17,209 total laps contested in 43 career starts at Richmond. His average start is an outstanding 8.0 (due primarily to six poles) and his average finish is 13.9. He has seven DNFs there.