JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET, met with media and discussed Clint Bowyer's post-Loudon penalty, how it affects everybody at RCR, pressure in the Chase, and more. Full Transcript: BUSY WEEK THIS WEEKEND IN DOVER, GIVE US YOUR ...
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET, met with media and discussed Clint Bowyer's post-Loudon penalty, how it affects everybody at RCR, pressure in the Chase, and more. Full Transcript:
BUSY WEEK THIS WEEKEND IN DOVER, GIVE US YOUR THOUGHTS "We had a real strong run last week which is what we needed to do and we needed to find a way to step up our speed a little bit and I thought we did that. We struggled a little bit in practice last week but we found a way to be fast when it counted but unfortunately we just came up a bit short on fuel. The 33 was able to make it and we weren't so that was disappointing and we actually ran out.....the car missed, with two to go and still finished 15th so part of me feels like it didn't work out as good for us as it could have for sure but a part of me says it was a whole lot better than it could have been. Sputtering with two to go and still finishing 15th was a blessing so it's on to the next race and again I feel good about the effort that we put out there and we will see where that gets us this week."
IN LIGHT OF CLINT'S PENALTY HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE LEGALITY OF YOUR CARS AND HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT RCR'S REPUTATION? "Well we............and I am not going to spend a whole lot of time talking about this and if it's okay I will say everything I want to say about it in one shot here.
We have a lot of belief at RCR about integrity and about doing things the right way and by no means did the 33 car go to the racetrack believing in any form or fashion that they would have any trouble with tech whatsoever. Like other teams, they had been warned the week before that, that NASCAR was telling them that they were really, really close to the tolerances with that car and so there was an effort put in so that there was no issue. And of course, there was an issue, so there is a circumstance there that is an odd circumstance and I'm obviously not questioning NASCAR's measuring abilities because it's pretty precise the way they do it but the intent was certainly to be 100% legal and to the point where it was very clear that car was going to the tech center so there is a circumstance that is odd there that Richard has made it pretty clear that he is going to appeal it and his grounds for appeal.......he has stated so that is what it is and its disappointing.
We feel 100% confident that we don't have a problem with our cars based on the fact that we've not had a problem with our cars. Prior to the last two weeks there has been no issue and we just have to believe in our measurements and believe in what we know and what we have learned and it is what it is so it's a very disappointing thing for the 33 and its made us all look very closely at what we are doing and certainly there is a cause for concern for the other two teams and certainly for the 33 as well but we believe we have the matter under control."
ABOUT WHETHER ALL CARS SHOULD BE TAKEN TO THE TECH CENTER AFTER EACH RACE "Well, the more cars they take to the tech center, the more cars are thoroughly looked at. That is not to say that I want to insinuate that I think there are a bunch of illegal cars running around out there. I don't believe that. I believe that in this case there is something that happened during the race that changed. I know the work that went into that car to make sure that it was legal. There was a tremendous amount of effort after Richmond to make sure it was legal so something odd happened.
The more cars they take to the tech center, the more cars will be looked at in a more thorough fashion. I think a lot of fans don't realize the difference between teching at the race track and teching at the tech center.
The inspection process here is as diligent as it can be but there is no way to measure the cars here the way they can measure them there. It's just impossible so just so the fans understand, the first step in the inspection process happens here. And the final step, which is a more thorough view, happens there. And a lot of people are concerned as to how can a car pass tech pre and post race but not pass on Tuesday and people need to understand that the way that you can measure it at the tech center is completely different than the way that you can measure it here. And I feel there is a great deal of confusion about that."
ABOUT HOW HARD THE ORGANIZATION HAS WORKED TO GET BACK TO THE TOP AND WHEN ONE CAR HAS AN ISSUE, DOES IT AFFECT MORAL BACK AT THE SHOP? "Well we all work very well together, we work hard together and when a team is doing well or a team is having a problem, we have all done it together in one form or fashion so I am not standing here today to say that it's a 33 problem or a 31 problem, it's a RCR problem. And if it's an RCR problem then we all need to pitch in together to fix it and it just is what it is. I just need to think that everyone needs to understand that everyone knew that car was going to the tech center. And there is no way that something intentionally would have been done to make that car illegal. You know what I mean? That is what is difficult about this situation.
And after they got close to the tolerances after Richmond, NASCAR..........the same way they did last year with the Hendrick cars you know when you start getting close and they start looking closer at you -- which by the way they should. You know?
No one is questioning NASCAR's ability to measure cars and no one is questioning the fact that they should measure cars. You know, when you start pushing the edge and they start looking at you close, they need to look at you closer. They are here to police the sport and so when you get real close, but you are still legal, they are going to start looking at you harder so Richard was aware that most likely they were going to take that car so it wasn't a surprise that whether that car won the race or finished 30th it was going to the tech center."
DO YOU AGREE WITH THE PRECEDENT THAT NASCAR DOES NOT TAKE AWAY WINS? "I understand why it is and I understand why some people don't agree with it and I understand why some people agree with it. They have always been consistent with it at this level, but they haven't always been consistent with it at lower levels.
I had a win taken away from me in the Nationwide Series years ago. Won the race and was deemed illegal when the race was over and they did take the win away. But at this level they seemed to never have done that.
I think consistency is important and if NASCAR decides at some point if you are illegal and they are going to take the win away there needs to be an announcement about that. You know what I mean? At this point they just can't jump up and say, 'well, we will take the win away', because they never have at this level so if they decide to change that policy then that would need to be done between years or would have to be done with an announcement like, 'hey in the future we are going to.....'. It couldn't just be a deal where they say 'well, in this situation we are going to do that', because that would be inconsistent with what they have done with every other car."
ABOUT PRESSURE IN THE CHASE AND DOES IT ESCALATE OR DOES IT EXIST? "I think the reality of the situation is a lot clearer this time of year. You know. When we went to New Hampshire there were 12 teams that felt like they had a chance to win the race and win the championship. Which meant there were a lot of teams that knew they couldn't.
When you left New Hampshire there were teams that had less of chance to win the championship and that continues throughout the ten. And so there is pressure when you start to become one of those teams that aren't going to have a chance because everything you have built your whole year is about winning the championship and then there is pressure for the teams that are in position to win a championship because now it's that they have to execute.
I think it's important to note that only experience can teach you this, is that for a field goal kicker that is kicking a field goal.......it doesn't matter that its one second to go in the game and a tie ballgame or it's the first quarter and you are up by 21. You still kick the ball the same way and if you don't.......you choke.
So the situation that you are in can't drive the way you respond to it. You have to respond to the situation the same all the time. And when you don't, I think that is when the mistakes are made. So, it's a good pressure. It's a bad pressure when you start getting yourself out of it but it's a good pressure when you are in the hunt and you feel like you have a chance. If you don't like that pressure........get the hell out. It's what we do and it's what sports are all about."
ABOUT WHETHER NASCAR SHOULD HAVE THE 12 CHASE DRIVERS QUALIFY AS A GROUP SO THAT WEATHER CHANGES DON'T CREATE AN ADVANTAGE FOR SOME DURING QUALIFYING: "I don't know if that shows how important qualifying is or if it shows how important it is to have a fast car. If the car that qualified second, had qualified 10th, he wouldn't have led all those laps because he would have had a car that could win the race. So I think that track position is a great thing but a 10th place car starting third isn't going to go and lead a hundred and some laps. Because he is going to fall back. So the fast cars that are up front are going to be hard to deal with. And what we had last week.......especially Clint, was that we had a fast car starting up front and he went and led a tremendous amount of laps.
So where all the cars qualify is something to talk about and it might make it interesting to get everybody qualified at the same time. You know what I mean? If you qualified 20th in the field then you ought to start 20th. If you are the fifth fastest Chase guy, you shouldn't start fifth. You would start where you qualify and that is the same way they pay points. But it might be interesting for all the 12 Chase drivers to be the last 12 cars to go out and qualify or something like that."
-source: gm racing