JEFF BURTON, DRIVER OF THE NO. 31 AT&T MOBILITY IMPALA SS, met with media members at Martinsville Speedway and talked about the weekend off, figuring Martinsville out, the difference between Bristol and Martinsville, the Hendrick Motorsports ...
JEFF BURTON, DRIVER OF THE NO. 31 AT&T MOBILITY IMPALA SS, met with media members at Martinsville Speedway and talked about the weekend off, figuring Martinsville out, the difference between Bristol and Martinsville, the Hendrick Motorsports dominance at Martinsville and more.
ON HAVING A WEEKEND OFF. "It was nice to have a weekend off and I really liked the way that this year's rolled with running five races and then having a weekend off verses the way we used to do it. It was two weeks then get a weekend off and two weeks and a weekend off. I never understood that. I definitely enjoyed having a five race stretch. I think it allowed all the teams to kind of get into a rhythm before a weekend off. I think that's important. It was good to have a weekend off but at the same time I kind of missed the race track. That weekend off in June, I never missed the race track. I'm glad to have it in June, but the early weekends off I always think they are a little too early."
ON HOW THE CAUTIONS PLAY INTO STRATEGY AT MARTINSVILLE. "The restarts are important because we do have so many. This is the tightest race track that we go to, it's the smallest racing groove that we go to and you get half way through the race and you get it seems to me like there are always 17 to 20, 22 cars on the lead lap that means that you are doubling up just like it's the start of the race. Track position is huge, it takes forever to get by people. So it's real important. Having track position at the right time of the race here is important because of the restarts. It's a long time before you can start passing anybody and it makes being in the front of that real important."
ON PAST STRUGGLES AT MARTINSVILLE AND IF HE FEELS HIS TEAM HAS A BETTER HANDLE ON IT THIS YEAR. "I hope not. We have struggled, honestly the weakness of our team has been what we're getting ready to come up on and that's Martinsville, Phoenix those smaller tracks for whatever reason is where we've struggled the most. If you go back and look at where in the past I've not been my best you make the case that it's been the Martinsville's, New Hampshire's, Phoenix's, but for whatever reason we just haven't clicked with this type of track. So this is an important weekend for us, probably Phoenix more important than here for us. It's one of those tracks that if you're not right it's hard to figure it out. It's hard today, there's no rubber on the race track, we're the first cars on the track. The track is going to change so much between now and Sunday that sometimes I think that we put too much emphasis on what we do today because the track changes so much by Sunday. I can't tell you that we spent a lot of effort getting ready for just this race, but we have worked on our short track program and hopefully that will yield results because this has been one of our weaker race tracks."
ON THE DIFFERENCES IN PREPARING FOR A RACE AT BRISTOL VERSES THE RACE AT MARTINSVILLE. "This and Bristol, actually I saw an overhead shot of Bristol from last week and I thought wow that looks just like Martinsville. If it didn't have the banking in it, it would be just like Martinsville. They both have similar shapes but obviously the banking is so different that they are not even the same thing. You prepare for Bristol more like you are going to Michigan than you would say like going to Martinsville. This is truly a short track. There's nothing short track about Bristol except the wrecks. Bristol with such the high bank has so much banking and the track has that characteristic that is more like a short track than Martinsville is -- Martinsville is more like a short track than Bristol, I'm sorry."
ON CONTAINING EMOTIONS DURING AN INTERVIEW AFTER AN ON-TRACK INCIDENT. "We've heard talk in the past about having a cooling off period before post-race interviews and I'm a huge proponent (OPPONENT) of that. I think that's a terrible idea. I think that the emotions of our sport are what make this sport work. If drivers, crew members can't show their emotions, then why watch. I think that the fans deserve to hear the story, I think the fans deserve to see the emotion and I think they deserve to see the raw emotion. I do believe though that you have to harness that in a way so that, you have to understand that you're speaking to an audience that you don't know is there. You have to assume that you are speaking to a room full of Kindergarteners. That you can't use language that isn't right, but the fans deserve to know what happened as you saw it. What I try to do is tell what I believe to be the truth and I do it in a way that's clear and concise and easily understood. That's the way I try to do it, that's not saying that's right but that's how I do it. I love the fact for our sport that something happens on the track and a guy comes out of the infield care center there's a microphone there. I think that's awesome, I think that's how it ought to be. I think other sports miss out on that and you've seen some football coaches react negatively to being mic'd, I'm sorry basketball coached being mic'd and acting negatively to that. I mean we do it every week, what's the big deal. Heck we have direct pass riding with us hearing everything we say, I think that's what separates our sport."
YOU GUYS AT CHILDRESS YOURSELF, CLINT (BOWYER) AND KEVIN (HARVICK) HAVE COMPLETED EVERY LAP THIS SEASON, CAN YOU SPEAK TO THE CONSISTENCY AND HOW YOU GUYS HAVE BEEN ABLE TO DO THAT? "Obviously we've had some luck, I mean we've had some things go our way. Mechanically we've been good. We've put ourselves in position not to get wrecked. Sometimes things happen that are out of your control, a guy wrecks in front of you, has something go wrong there's nothing you can do about it. We've had good luck, we've put ourselves in position to have good luck and mechanically we've been solid but it takes a little bit of everything. It takes good decisions by the drivers, good decisions by the mechanics and some good fortune as well."
ON HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS' DOMINANCE AT MARTINSVILLE. "I think that they will make a stand. I think that they will be extremely strong this weekend and how much that carries over depends on the team. I can tell you that winning this race last year doesn't mean you are going to come here and run well. Running poorly last year doesn't mean you're gonna run poorly. The work that you've done between now and then is going to determine how well you run. But they obviously have a set up and a feel for the cars that has yielded results, that's obvious. Jimmie (Johnson) has done it a lot, Jeff (Gordon) has done it a lot before Jimmie did it. (Dale Earnhardt) Junior's run well here so they have the mechanical ability and they have the drivers that can do it as well. It wouldn't surprise me one bit to see them come here and be successful. They pretty much, as seen by me, have dominated this race track for a while and until somebody can take that away from them it's theirs. As long as you're the last one holding the trophy, you're the man. Somebody's got to take it away and nobody has been able to do that consistently recently for sure."
-credit: gm racing