Up and Down Night for Burton, Cat Racing Team in Richmond
Start - 25 Finish - 16 Laps Led - 12 Points Position - 20 Jeff Burton and the Cat Racing team endured a tough outing in Saturday night's 400-lap feature at Richmond International Raceway, but never-give-up attitudes prevailed and the team rallied to score a 16th-place finish. After rolling off the starting grid 25th, the veteran driver tussled with a loose-handling Caterpillar Chevrolet that, ultimately, placed him one lap down to the leaders and left him fighting for the Lucky Dog award for most of the first half of the race. A rash of cautions just past the halfway mark rewarded Burton with a return to the lead lap where he began his accent up the leader board, moving from 22nd to 11th in just 22 laps. Two more cautions slowed the field at laps 293 and 302 that left the South Boston, Va., native at point when crew chief Todd Berrier made the call to stay on the racing surface while other competitors pitted. After leading the field back to green for the final 87 laps, Burton settled into the fourth position while the team hoped for a caution as the No. 31 Chevrolet was short on fuel in order to go the distance. Unfortunately, the caution never came and the 21-time Sprint Cup Series race winner was forced to pit on lap 383 for fuel and two right-side tires. He returned to competition 20th on the scoring pylon and notched four positions in the closing 15 laps to score a 16th-place result. The finish allowed the Berrier-led crew to advance two spots, to 20th, in the overall point standings where they now sit 35 markers behind Richard Childress Racing teammate Paul Menard in 15th.
JEFF BURTON QUOTE:
"Tough race for us tonight. We fought to get back on the lead lap for much of the race but, when we did, our Caterpillar Chevrolet was handling better and we were able to make up some ground. The rash of cautions near the end threw us out of sequence and we had to pit for fuel with about 20 laps to go. I'm proud of the team for trying some strategy but, unfortunately, it just didn't work out in our favor."