BEHIND THE HAULER CHAT WITH JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELESS MONTE CARLO SS: ON THE STORY OF CHEATING ALLEGATIONS: "We know the story is not true. We know that Bob Dilner (SPEED channel) was given the information. We know that Bob didn't ...
BEHIND THE HAULER CHAT WITH JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELESS MONTE CARLO SS:
ON THE STORY OF CHEATING ALLEGATIONS: "We know the story is not true. We know that Bob Dilner (SPEED channel) was given the information. We know that Bob didn't create the story; he was given the information and we know the information is not true. So Bob's sources are Bob's sources and I'm not going to get into that because it's not fair to Bob. If a team did that it's highly unethical, if anyone, well, someone did it and it is unethical. It is unethical to lie - when you're 5 years old and you tell a lie you get your hand smacked. You're taught at an early age that it's wrong to lie. And without a doubt, someone was lying to Bob Dilner, no question about that. I don't think Bob created this story. Bob's a highly ethical and very professional journalist and he was given information that was 100% wrong. That's just how it is. Someone certainly should have woken up feeling bad about themselves and if their mother did a good job raising them they would have woke up in the morning feeling bad about themselves."
WHAT UPSETS YOU THE MOST ABOUT THIS? "What makes me angry is that this is a lie. The proof is in the pudding - we don't bring our wheels to the race track. We all hire services to bring our wheels to the track. We don't go to Goodyear and say 'this is the wheel you mount the right front tire on, this is the wheel you mount the left front tire on,' we don't have that ability. We have the same wheels here that we had at New Hampshire. We didn't have to find the company that transports our wheels, swap out all the wheels, bring new wheels. The facts are the facts. What mad me so mad is that someone chose, in a time where we've done a very nice job of working hard - we're not where we need to be yet but we're working hard - that someone decided to tell a lie to someone in the media to try and get that put out. And that bothers me. To be honest, I had a conversation with Bob and I don't think Bob. Bob's an ethical guy. Bob didn't make this story up. In retrospect, though, I think that Bob could have gone the next step, after he reported it, to figure out if it was reported correctly or not. Being that NASCAR and the teams were both saying it didn't happen I think Bob could have gone the next step and done an investigation of where are our wheels; do we have the same wheels, and to my knowledge, that didn't happen. So those two things together. but I'm not mad at Bob, I'm really not. I think Bob does a nice job in our sport, he covers it well, he's professional; he does a nice job.
We have a difference of opinion what could have happened after the story was reported but hey, that's life. The biggest thing was that someone boldfaced, blatantly lied to create a story that should have never. that started swirling around us, that we didn't deserve to be part of."
HOW MUCH OF A DISTRACTION IS THIS FOR YOU AND YOUR TEAM? "I don't know. I think that at the end of the day, some of it I kind of relish. To be perfectly honest, it's enabled us the opportunity to say 'hey, let's go prove that. let's go kick their ass. Let's get up on them even harder. I mean really, at the end of the day, it bothered me because it was just an ethical issue but at the end of the day we're comfortable with who we are as a team, we're comfortable with what we're doing at RCR. Will it be a distraction? I don't think it will be a distraction at all. I think if anything, it has motivated us a little more. Todd and Scott and Gill and all the drivers had a conversation and individually we had conversations and I'm telling you, there's no lack of motivation through this."
IS THERE A TIME WHEN DRIVERS CAN PLAY MIND GAMES THROUGH THE MEDIA? "No question. I think that's part of the fun of our sport. I think that's part of the fun of any sport is trying to get the upper hand any way you can. I think that's fine. Like I said, I try to hold myself to the same standards as I hold my 5 and 11 year old to. If my 5 and 11 year old are off telling someone a lie, they'd be in major trouble. If we have a 50 year old that can't hold to the standards of a 5 or 11 year old, then I've got no time for them. So yeah, are mind games part of this sport? No doubt. Is anything that you can do to get an upper edge part of our sport? No question. We compete and any way you get an advantage, that's what you are going to try to do. But there is a line that you draw and I think lying is a line that should not be crossed."
DO YOU THINK SOMEONE CAME UP WITH THIS STORY TO JUST BECAUSE OF RCR'S TURNAROUND "I'm pretty much done talking about it, to be honest. There's no way that I can get into someone's mind and figure out why the story was created. I can't do that. I don't have an understanding of why that could happen so I don't want to speculate on that."
DO YOU FEEL THAT FUTURE SUCCESS YOUR TEAM COULD HAVE THIS YEAR WILL BE LOOKED AT AS 'TAINTED' FROM THE OUTSIDE? "I think that if you take this stance - for any success that we have or any failures we have related to this story - then the stance that you have to take is that NASCAR and Richard Childress Racing have a conspiracy against every other team in this sport. And if you believe that, then I've got a piece of land I want to sell you that's waterfront.
If anyone, and there's conspiracies across the world, I understand that, but if anyone thinks our success or our lack of success in the next nine races is due to a story that was created about our wheels - and by the way, I wish we were smart enough to create such a thing - the only reason that anyone would have an opinion about our success or lack of success from here forward being about the wheel, is someone that believes that NASCAR and Richard Childress Racing have conspired against the rest of the field to create an advantage for RCR. If you believe that, you're best served leaving the sport. You're best served not being part of it because if our sport doesn't have credibility, if our sport doesn't have respect, if our sport doesn't have the ability to separate fact from fiction then our sport is in major, major trouble. The only way that you could believe that our success or lack of success has to do with that is because we still have those wheels. We have the same wheels we had at New Hampshire; they're still here. They've still got the 'laser-cut slots' on them. They're still over there. So NASCAR has said 'ya'll just do what you want to do; we're going to look this way, it's okay'. If that's what you believe, then as a journalist or as a fan, you shouldn't be involved in this sport. If people think NASCAR judges and rules with those ethics in 2006 with all they have to lose, the best thing that person can do is walk away from the sport. That's the last thing I'm going to say about it."
-credit: gm racing