This Week's Caterpillar Chevrolet at Homestead-Miami Speedway ... Jeff Burton will race Chassis No. 314 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. Built new this season, this is the same Caterpillar Chevrolet Burton drove...
This Week's Caterpillar Chevrolet at Homestead-Miami Speedway ... Jeff Burton will race Chassis No. 314 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. Built new this season, this is the same Caterpillar Chevrolet Burton drove to a fourth-place finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway two months ago before posting a runner-up finish with this No. 31 racer at Dover International Speedway three weeks later.
You scored a runner-up finish last season at Homestead. How much of a chance did you think you had to win that race?
"I thought we had a great chance to win that race. We were really, really strong. The last run of the race wasn't as good as the previous runs. That was the case for a lot of the drivers. Most of the time, you'll see one car that runs well then falls off but, in this case, there were three or four of them. It was like a battle amongst them. We just weren't as good at the end of the race. If the race was 50 laps shorter, we would have won the race, but it wasn't. We feel like we have a good set-up going there. It's a fun race track. When they changed the race track, I was really against it. I thought they had screwed it up, but they made it a lot better. It's turned into a really fun race track."
How much more competitive has the track become since the progressive banking?
"It's a lot more competitive. In the past, it was one of those places that you, honestly, only raced the race track. You focused on that race track because the cars got spread out so much. With the way it is now, there are cars around you all the time. You still have to focus on the race track, but there are so many cars that are running better now and the difference between the best car and the 15th-place car is so much smaller than it used to be. It's been a big difference."
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."
You and Clint (Bowyer) have committed yourselves to helping Kevin (Harvick) win the championship. If you were leading and Kevin was second, and he needed that spot to win the championship, would you give up your win?
"I think when you start messing with those kinds of things, you really start messing with ethics in the sport. I'm not a supporter of that. I understand, from a selfish RCR standpoint, that might make sense, but the credibility of the sport is really important. I think when teammates start doing those kinds of things, it's not a good thing. I wouldn't feel good about doing that and, to be quite honest, neither would Kevin (Harvick) because if you win that championship, you don't want it to be because a guy let you win a race or a guy gave you a spot. You want to win the championship because you earned it. I think anything less than that really starts to question the legitimacy of the championship and the credibility of the sport."