Burton Salvages 26th-place Finish Despite Early-Race Incident
Jeff Burton ran as high as third in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway, but damage acquired during a lap-60, multi-car incident forced the Todd Berrier-led team to spend 32 laps making repairs to the No. 31 Catepillar Chevrolet, effectively eliminating any chances of a victory. Instead, Burton & Co. finished 26th, 36 laps down to the leader. Although the South Boston, Va., native began the 312-lap event in 25th position, he was able to work his way into the top 10 within the first 40 laps of the race after pitting for right-side tires and fuel during a caution period on lap 34. Burton made his way to third in the running order, but fell back to 22nd after a lap-51 pit stop for four tires and fuel. Following the stop, Burton reported to his team that the No. 31 Catepillar Chevrolet felt the best that it had all weekend; however, less than 10 laps later, the team fell victim to circumstance as the black and yellow No. 31 was collected in a multi-car incident on lap 60. Burton promptly drove to the garage area, and the RCR team went to work, making the Caterpillar Chevrolet suitable to return to the track. Quick work by the team allowed Burton to return to the track on lap 97, and he was able to salvage a 26th-place finish.
JEFF BURTON QUOTE: "It looked like the No 83 (Brian Vickers) had some trouble on the outside. It was pretty slick on restarts and it looked like he got really loose and the field behind and everybody bottled up. The whole field was behind him and just nowhere to go. It's really frustrating for us. I thought we had an incredibly fast car. It seems like we just can't do anything right now. We'll keep our heads up and keep digging."