Burton, Cat Racing Team Earn 16th-Place Finish at Bristol Jeff Burton and the Cat Racing team started and finished 16th in Saturday night's IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway that helped inch them closer to clinching a spot in the...
Burton, Cat Racing Team Earn 16th-Place Finish at Bristol
Jeff Burton and the Cat Racing team started and finished 16th in Saturday night's IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway that helped inch them closer to clinching a spot in the 2010 Chase for the Sprint Cup.
The No. 31 Richard Childress Racing team gained 15 points, to 281, on the 13th-place point man with just two races remaining before the 12-man Chase class is set.
Opening day at the Bristol bullring presented the Todd Berrier-led team an action-packed schedule that included two practice sessions followed by a time trials session. Each minute in both practices were used wisely that culminated in the South Boston, Va., native posting the 12th- and ninth-fastest times overall. Later that night, Burton circled the 'World's Fastest Half Mile," earning the 16th-starting spot for Saturday night's 500-lap contest.
After gaining a couple of spots in the early going, it was quickly reported to veteran crew chief Todd Berrier that the splitter on the Caterpillar Chevy was hitting the race track surface, making it difficult for Burton to navigate through the varying 26-30-degree banked turns.
While the first half of the showdown saw Burton race between 13th and 18th despite tussling with the tight-handling condition, the 21-time Sprint Cup Series race winner had worked his way up to 11th, knocking on the door of the top 10, before quickly falling to 16th by lap 370 as a result of no grip.
Berrier and the No. 31 crew continued to throw every adjustment they could at the black and yellow machine to make it come to life, but it just wouldn't take.
Burton lost a lap to the leader on lap 394, while running 19th, and, soon after, visited pit road for what would be the final time of the night. Berrier made one last swing to the No. 31 Chevy where he had the over-the-wall crew add parts to the front of the No. 31 Chevy.
After returning to the racing surface 22nd in the running order with 84 laps remaining in the race, the latest adjustment aided Burton's advancement through traffic that helped him gain six spots before the checkered flag waved.
Kyle Busch captured his third victory of the season, beating David Reutimann and Jamie McMurray to the checkers. RCR teammate Clint Bowyer finished fourth while Kasey Kahne rounded out the top-five finishers.
Fellow RCR stablemate Kevin Harvick finished 14th.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers and teams have their fourth and final off-week of the 2010 season next week before heading to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Emory Healthcare 500.
"The Caterpillar Chevrolet was tight all night. The setup we had in the car made it difficult for me to turn through the corners and each adjustment we made during pit stops didn't seem to help it. Obviously, we learned a lot of things tonight but finishing 16th was certainly not the finish we were looking for."