Atlanta II: Jeff Burton preview

This Week's Caterpillar Chevrolet at Atlanta Motor Speedway ... Jeff Burton will race Chassis No. 314 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This is a brand new Caterpillar Impala that will be put through its initial ...

This Week's Caterpillar Chevrolet at Atlanta Motor Speedway ... Jeff Burton will race Chassis No. 314 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This is a brand new Caterpillar Impala that will be put through its initial paces this weekend.

The Atlanta Report ... In 32 starts at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Burton boasts seven top-five and 13 top-10 finishes. He has a best career finish of fourth, which he accomplished four different times (March 1994, Nov. 1998, March 1999 and March 2007).

Season Update ... Over the season's first 24 races, Burton has posted four top-five and 12 top-10 finishes. He has a 14.9 starting average coupled with a 13th-place average finish and has been running at the end of all the races. Additionally, the RCR driver has led at 11 different events for a total of 379 laps.

Two to Go ... The 21-time Sprint Cup Series winner currently sits seventh in the championship point standings with two races remaining in NASCAR's "Race to the Chase." The 12 Chase contenders are determined once the checkered flag waves at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, September 11 and, heading into this weekend's 500-mile affair, Burton is armed with a 281-point cushion over the 13th-place point man. The veteran driver can be locked into his fourth Chase appearance if he leaves Atlanta with a 196-point lead over 13th.

Local Flavor ... One member from the Cat Racing team hails from the state of Georgia. Jackman Adam North grew up in Sonoraville, Ga. In addition to his race day duty on the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, North is also a fabricator in RCR's Sprint Cup Series shop.

Meet the Cat Racing Pit Crew ... The No. 31 over-the-wall crew will be signing autographs Sunday, September 5 beginning at 3 p.m. at the Chevrolet display, located on speedway property just outside turn three.

Come See Jeff ... Burton will attend AMS' Fan Fest and participate in a question-and-answer session with the fans from 6 - 6:30 p.m. at the frontstretch grandstands. Admission is free with tickets to either the Great Clips 300 or the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series night race. Otherwise, admission is $10 and tickets will only be sold on the day of the event at the Gate 13 ticket window.

JEFF BURTON:

There is a good possibility that you can clinch a spot in the Chase at Atlanta. How good would that feel going into Richmond? "Well, I was hoping that we could clinch a spot way before Atlanta. It would be really nice to go to Atlanta and not worry about making a mistake and costing us the chance at making the Chase. It is what it is. But, our main goal every week is to race for the win. We're certainly going to focus on that on Sunday but, at the same time, we'll have to race smart to get locked in (the Chase) heading to Richmond. Then, that will be our complete focus at Richmond - to win."

Describe racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway. "Atlanta is a crazy race. The track has two different personalities. You have the qualifying race track that is screaming fast, and then you have to race on a race track that has no grip, whatsoever, and it's really, really slow. It's just a bizarre race track. Going to a place like that is a lot of fun, but it's also one of those places where it's really easy to make a mistake. Atlanta has been a good race track for us so I have high expectations going into that race."

Last year was the first year Atlanta's second race was run over Labor Day weekend. Does it seem to be a successful combination? "I think that combination was good for California, and I think it's good for Atlanta, too. We had a good crowd there, and I think anytime there's a holiday weekend, and you can have a race, it's great. I thought that the crowd level looked a lot better. Atlanta has been really disappointing with the amount of people that have been coming to the races, to be honest. It's good to see when you make a change it has an impact on the number of people that come."

Goodyear has done a lot of work for the tires for Atlanta. Can you talk about that process? "That's been the hardest thing that they've done - build a tire for Atlanta. It's been so tough getting a tire that everyone is comfortable with and will last. The track is very abrasive and very hard on tires. That's been their biggest challenge. This year has been Goodyear's best year. They've done the best job they've ever done. We've had incredible tires all year. The quality of the races has gone up because of the tire, there's no question about that, but Atlanta is one place where they have a big black shadow over their head where they're trying to figure it out. It's a challenge for them. They have done a lot of work, and they've done a nice job of moving it forward, but they still have room to grow."

-source: rcr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton
Teams Richard Childress Racing