Homestead: Jeff Burton preview

* This Week's Caterpillar Chevrolet at Homestead-Miami Speedway ... Jeff Burton will race Chassis No. 290 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This is a brand new Caterpillar Chevrolet Impala SS that will be...

* This Week's Caterpillar Chevrolet at Homestead-Miami Speedway ... Jeff Burton will race Chassis No. 290 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This is a brand new Caterpillar Chevrolet Impala SS that will be put through its first paces this weekend.

* Homestead Details ... In 10 starts at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Burton boasts three top-five and four top-10 finishes. Although he has yet to capture a Sprint Cup Series victory at the Sunshine State facility, the South Boston, Va., native has two Nationwide Series checkered flags on his Homestead resume (1998 and 2007). The 21-time Sprint Cup Series race winner has been running at the end of all 10 events held at HMS and has completed 98.1 percent of the laps contested.

* Since the New Sheriff Has Been in Town ... Burton and newly-appointed crew chief Todd Berrier have posted two top-five and three top-10 finishes over the last three Sprint Cup Series races. Since being named crew chief of the CAT Racing team, Berrier has guided the team to a fifth-place finish at Talladega Superspeedway, a ninth-place effort at Texas Motor Speedway and to a runner-up finish at Phoenix International Raceway.

* Mile-and-a-Half King ... In 121 Sprint Cup Series starts on mile-and-a-half ovals, Burton has earned one pole (Chicago 2006), seven wins, 28 top-five and 54 top-10 finishes and has led 1,027 laps of competition.

* Double Down in Homestead ... In addition to his driving duties behind the wheel of the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet Impala SS, Burton, a 27-time race winner in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, will drive RCR's No. 29 Holiday Inn/Holiday Inn Express Chevy in this weekend's 300-mile event at the South Florida oval. Live coverage of the season finale will take the green flag Saturday, Nov. 21 at 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The race will be televised live on ESPN2 and broadcast worldwide on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM Satellite Radio.

* Last Time Around ... Myriad-handling issues coupled with a mid-race incident left Burton and the No. 31 team with a 40th-place finish during last year's 267-lap showdown. The veteran driver raced between 12th and 22nd for most of the race before making contact with another competitor with less than 100 laps to go. The incident sent him and his battered Chevy to the garage area for repairs for eight laps before returning to the 1.5-mile racing surface where he spent the remaining 75 laps running a steady, yet cautious, pace.

* Season Recap ... In the season's first 35 events, Burton has earned four top-five and nine top-10 finishes and has led 77 laps of competition. He has recorded a 24.7 starting average coupled with an 18.4 finishing average. The veteran driver has completed all but 110 laps (10,115 of 10,225) contested and sits 17th in the overall point standings.

* One Trophy Missing from the Shelf ... Homestead has been a bit of an Achilles Heel for RCR and is one of the few race tracks where team owner Richard Childress hasn't earned a Sprint Cup Series victory. As a company, RCR's best finish at HMS came in 2003 and in 2008 when Kevin Harvick finished second. In 29 starts, RCR has four top-five and 13 top-10 finishes at the mile-and-a-half, progressively-banked oval with drivers Dave Blaney, Clint Bowyer, Burton, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Green, Harvick and Mike Skinner. Auto Club Speedway, Kansas Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway are the other tracks on the current schedule where RCR has yet to visit Victory Lane.

JEFF BURTON:

With the season you and the CAT Racing team have had, are you excited about this being the last race of the year?

"Yes and no. I'm glad we'll be able to stop and start over. The flip side is that in order to keep getting better, you have to keep working. For me, when the Homestead race is over, my ability to keep working is hindered because we can't test or do a whole lot from my standpoint in assisting to making the cars better and for me to be a better driver. Even though we are having a bad year, we have to focus on being better. That focus will continue in the off season but it's hard to measure yourself as a team. So, part of me is glad the year is over because I get to take a break and we get to start a new season but we won't know until February if we did the things we needed to do."

Since Todd Berrier became your crew chief, you have posted three top-10 finishes. Talk about the chemistry you two have found.

"We both have a lot of respect for each other. We came into this expecting to perform well. I have a lot of faith in Todd and I think Todd has a lot of faith in me. We're very blunt, very up front and very honest. We just go to work. He's real good about reminding me about things I need to be reminded of. He's everything I thought he was and more. I'm real proud to be working with him. There are a lot of things that go into this. Todd is pushing a lot of buttons and making a lot of stuff happen. Scott (Miller, director of competition) is doing the same thing. Scott has a tough job and he's doing an incredible job. I'm just proud of everybody. We're turning a lot of rocks over and seeing what crawls out from underneath it. I'm proud of our attitude. If our attitude stays like this, we can be successful in the future."

Is it hard to find a good line around a track with the progressive banking, such as Homestead-Miami Speedway?

"I think you definitely have to hunt for the best line. As a driver you have to be open to trying different lines so you can find which line works best for your car. The problem lies when you are trying to get your car set up during practice. You question yourself as to what line you want to run. It's really easy to set your car up for one line then move somewhere else and find out that it doesn't work as well. You really have to be committed to where you want to run and stay there."

-credit: rcr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Burton , Mike Skinner , Kevin Harvick , Jeff Green , Clint Bowyer , Dave Blaney
Teams AT Racing