This Week's Caterpillar Chevrolet at Chicagoland Speedway ... Jeff Burton will race chassis No. 305 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. Built new for 2010, Burton drove this Caterpillar Chevrolet to an eighth-place...
This Week's Caterpillar Chevrolet at Chicagoland Speedway ... Jeff Burton will race chassis No. 305 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. Built new for 2010, Burton drove this Caterpillar Chevrolet to an eighth-place finish at Darlington Raceway in May and to a seventh-place effort at Pocono Raceway last month.
Chicago Details ... In nine starts at Chicagoland Speedway, Burton boasts one pole (July 2006), one top-five and three top-10 finishes and has led 60 laps of competition. His best finish of second came in July 2006. Burton is also one of 14 drivers who have competed in all races contested at the Joliet, Ill., facility.
Eight to Go ... Burton enters this weekend's 400-mile contest eighth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship point standings. With eight races remaining in the Race to the Chase - the 10-race stretch preceding the "Chase for the Sprint Cup," which begins when NASCAR's premier division returns to New Hampshire Motor Speedway in September, the veteran driver sits 188 markers forward of the cutoff spot to become a member of the 2010 12-man Chase class.
Chicago has been a hit or miss race track for you. What are your thoughts on this weekend's race?
"Chicago is the kind of track that we have struggled on and it's the kind of place that has needed the most attention. We feel really good about what we have done to prepare for this weekend's race, and the mile-and-a-half's in general, because what we have been able to do all season has been working. We are building great race cars and I'm happy about what we have been able to do all year. And, it would be great to get a win in Caterpillar's backyard."
Most of your finishes certainly don't reflect how well you have run. What is it going to take to get over the hump?
"We've just had a lot of bad luck in the closing laps of some of the races. We've consistently put ourselves in position to win races. I've been in the position to win more races this year than I was all of last year. In most races, we've consistently been running in the top five. We consistently have been one of the faster cars. I think we certainly had a real shot at California, Martinsville, Texas, Richmond, Loudon and last weekend at Daytona. All those races, I felt like, we could have done a little better job and they were our races. We didn't do that. So, I feel like we're close. It's bizarre to run the way we've run and to post the finishes that we've posted. I've been a part of a lot of different scenarios, but I've never been part of this scenario where we run this well and finish this poorly. We're not closing the deal, but we will. And, when we do, there's going to be a bunch of them (wins). If we can get ourselves in the Chase, we are going to be a contender. We can run well and our speed is great so I'm real happy."
Chicago's back straightaway is different from other tracks on the circuit. Is it difficult to navigate?
"It's real interesting. I've never been to a race track where the back straightaway has a curve in it. You actually have to turn the wheel a little bit down the back stretch. Chicago has turned into a neat race track. I really like racing there. It reminds me of a big Richmond-style track."
With eight races remaining until the Chase, are you looking more at staying in the top 12 in points or winning races?
"We're not going to approach this weekend's race or the next race any different than how we've been approaching them all year. Our approach is to come in every week with intentions of giving ourselves a shot to win the race. At the same time, you have to measure your risk. If I have a chance to win the race, I'm going to go for the chance to win a race. Ten points could be the difference, so we need to get all the points we can and the way to get all the points that we can is to win the race. We're not going to try to change our strategy because our strategy has been effective. I've said all along that if we can't win, then we'll try to finish second and if we can't finish second, then we'll try to finish third. Obviously, we need to have good points races from this point on, but winning races is still a priority."