Martinsville II: Jeff Burton preview

* This Week's Caterpillar Chevrolet at Martinsville Speedway ... Jeff Burton will race chassis No. 271 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. Built new for the 2009 season, this Caterpillar Impala SS was put through...

* This Week's Caterpillar Chevrolet at Martinsville Speedway ... Jeff Burton will race chassis No. 271 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. Built new for the 2009 season, this Caterpillar Impala SS was put through its first paces at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March where Burton drove it to a third-place finish. Since then, the South Boston, Va., native drove this No. 31 racer to a 14th-place effort at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March, a 12th-place finish at Darlington Raceway in May and to a ninth-place result at Pocono Raceway in June. Most recently, this Impala SS was driven to a 21st-place finish when the series returned to Pocono in August.

* Martinsville Details ... In 30 starts at the Virginia oval, Burton boasts one win, 10 top-five and 14 top-10 finishes. Additionally, the 42-year-old holds a 17th-place starting average coupled with a 14.6 finishing average and has led 662 laps of competition.

* Burton in the Loop at M-ville ... According to NASCAR's loop data statistics, the 16-year veteran has spent 2,488 of 4,510 (55.2 percent) laps running in the top 15 over the last nine events at the paper clip-shaped oval. During his stints in the top 15, he has made 164 passes, ranking him 10th best amongst active drivers. Overall, Burton's driver rating of 84.6 places him ninth amid his competitors at his hometown track.

* Carry Me Back to Ole Virginia ... Six members of the CAT Racing team hail from the Old Dominion State. Caterpillar driver Jeff Burton was born and raised in South Boston. Mechanic and fuel runner Curt Bowman calls Meadows of Dan his hometown. Transporter driver Franky Nester was born in Ridgeway and now resides in Stoneville while his co-driver James Nunn calls Ararat home. Gear specialist Greg Meredith was born, and still resides, in Fancy Gap while tire specialist Tracy Ramsey hails from Fredericksburg.

* RCR at Martinsville ... In 110 previous NASCAR Sprint Cup starts at Martinsville, RCR has earned three poles and posted six wins between former drivers Ricky Rudd and Dale Earnhardt. Additionally, RCR-prepared race cars have earned 24 top-five and 45 top-10 finishes at Martinsville dating back to April 10, 1972. Richard Childress, a former driver in NASCAR's top division, contributed four of those top 10s from 1976-1978.

* The Collective RCR ... In 31 races this season, RCR's four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entries have notched nine top-five and 30 top-10 finishes. The No. 29 team kicked off the 2009 season with a win in the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. RCR-prepared Chevrolets have also completed 34,689 laps with four different drivers including Burton, Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick and Casey Mears. RCR teams have led 188 laps and all four teams have earned just shy of $17 million combined purse money in 2009.

* RCR Fan Day this Thursday ... In honor of its 40th anniversary, RCR will host a Fan Day at the Welcome, N.C. complex on Thursday, Oct. 22 from 9 a.m. -- 5 p.m. Activities include driver and pit crew autograph sessions, self-guided tours of RCR's Sprint Cup and Nationwide as well as ECR's engine shop, radio remotes, musical entertainment, pit crew competition, viewing of the DALE movie, question-and-answer session with team owner Richard Childress and much more. General admission to RCR's Fan Day is just $5, which will benefit the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma. For more information, or to purchase advance tickets, please visit www.rcrfanday.com.

JEFF BURTON:

In your last five trips to Martinsville, you've finished in the top 15 with the exception of a 17th-place finish this time last year. How do you rate your recent runs and RCR's short-track program? "We've run well at Martinsville and we have run not so well. We never run terrible but we never run great, either. It's definitely been an up and down track for us. This year has been a tough year for us and we've been playing catch up all along but I think we've made some gains on our short-track program. We had a great run at Richmond. The same can be said for New Hampshire, although our finish doesn't reflect how we ran because we got caught up in an incident on a restart. I think we've made some big strides, so we should be competitive this weekend."

Being from South Boston, how cool was it to win the Cup Series race in 1997 at your home track?

"I was really sick when we won that race. I was really struggling and could hardly stand up. That's one of the most gratifying wins I've ever had because I passed Rusty (Wallace) on the outside before there was an outside (lane) to take the lead. We made a pit stop and he beat us out of the pits. There were a few cautions after that and each time, he kept jumping the restart and NASCAR warned him about that. Well, he did it again and they black flagged him. So, there I am leading the race and here comes Bobby Hamilton. He was on the inside and I was on the outside and I wanted to beat him. It was a really rewarding race because I had to work hard for it. Nothing came easy on that day."

-credit: rcr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Burton , Bobby Hamilton , Kevin Harvick , Casey Mears
Teams AT Racing