Martinsville: Jeff Burton media visit

Media Q&A with Jeff Burton, No. 31 Cingular Wireless Monte Carlo SS Jeff Burton in the No. 31 Cingular Wireless Monte Carlo SS answered questions from the media today at Martinsville Speedway. Burton's hometown is South Boston, Va. and is the...

Media Q&A with Jeff Burton, No. 31 Cingular Wireless Monte Carlo SS Jeff Burton in the No. 31 Cingular Wireless Monte Carlo SS answered questions from the media today at Martinsville Speedway. Burton's hometown is South Boston, Va. and is the former winner of the fall race here in 1997.

Jeff Burton, No. 31 Cingular Wireless Monte Carlo SS

ON PRACTICE: "I was really happy. My car goes OK. It's not real fast. By lap 30 I got real happy with the car. I feel really good about it. It's a long race and a lot of stuff can happen. For a long run and for what I think it needs to do to be competitive, I think we're right there and I feel really good about it."

ON CLINT BOWYER HERE: "Clint struggled a little bit. He was pretty happy after first practice but I haven't talked to him after the second practice. He thinks the 07 is pretty good but it's the first time he's been here so he has to see what he needs to do, the feel of the car, the combination. He's trying to figure all that out. They think it's pretty decent."

ON THE LEARNING CURVE FOR ROOKIES: "This is a difficult race track but the rookies that we have are really good. They didn't just start racing yesterday. The rookies in this series aren't rookies. I don't go into the race worrying about the rookies. They've proven themselves over the last few years to be able to do a nice job and you really don't have that much trouble with rookies."

DO YOU HAVE A CAR TO WIN? "I think we have a chance. Right now the 2 car looks like the very best car. I like the way my car drives and I think we can do what we need to do with it. We've got a long, long race here and a lot of things can happen."

WHAT COULD HAPPEN? "It's easy to overdrive it. It's easy to underdrive it too. The thing here is that everybody always preaches here don't drive hard, but if you don't drive hard you can't run fast. If you go real fast, you've got to go hard but certainly you can go too hard. You can't go hard sometimes because your car won't let you. The guys that are running fast are running hard. Certainly you can over drive a car here but to go fast you've got to drive hard. If you decide you want to ride around and finish 30th or run 30th all day, then you can do that but to run in the front you've got to run hard."

ON YOUR SEASON SO FAR: "I came in the year after testing really feeling good about the things we can do this year. I think that my position has been confirmed that we can run fast. We've had some things not go our way but I'm not down about that. I don't know what we could have done different. In Atlanta we were running third with 30 to go and slowed down with15 to go and finished 25th. We can't worry about those kind of things. If we keep doing what we're doing and keep trying to get better then I feel really good about it. I'm just really optimistic about it."

WHY AREN'T YOU GETTING THE FINISHES YOU WANT? "Everyone asks that question all of the time. When teams aren't running well they don't have one problem. It's a combination. For us I think our entire program is better. I think every component of our race team is better. Every component of our company is better from marketing all the way to engineering. I think we've made changes in every area and made improvements in every area. We've got to do that again. We're not where we need to be just yet. We've got to keep working but we've improved in a lot of areas."

ON HIS ODDS FOR TOMORROW'S RACE: "I don't anything has been determined for tomorrow. I start 20th and there's no reason I can't win from 20th. There's a lot of things that are going to happen. Pit selection only matters when everybody around you is on the same lap but if you're pitting different, it doesn't matter where you pit. Certainly qualifying is important but it's 500 laps and in 500 laps a lot of stuff can happen."

ON PASSING HERE: "It's gotten harder because teams have gotten better. Competition is harder and tougher. At the same time we have real good teams, real good equipment, real good pit stops. We have more of everything that is better and that's made passing harder. It's very, very difficult to pass here. It's like impossible. They're trying to save the race track obviously but competition is so fierce and there are so many good teams and drivers, you just turn left and pass people. It's about the race track but it's also about competition."

ON THE CAR OF TOMORROW: "We have a box and a wing. I think the wing is going to be answer. I'm not a wing guy. I wasn't a proponent of the wing until I ran the car with the wing. I like the adjustability of the wing. I think the wings make racing better. The aero push behind the body won't be as bad and the loss of aerodynamics to the sides of the body won't be as bad. I think it will breed a situation where you can pass more and also run side by side more. And I like the fact that with the plan for the Car of Tomorrow you can run a car at Martinsville, Daytona and Charlotte. To me, you can unload the thing off the hauler, set it to maximum ride height and go. With the wing you can adjust the end plates, adjust the angle of the wing, adjust the wicker. It gives you a lot of flexibility so that aerodynamically you can take the car and run it in Phoenix and take it Michigan next week and run it. The biggest evolution at this point from where they started is the wing. Again I wasn't a proponent of the wing but right now I think it's the right thing to do."

ON THE CAR OF TOMORROW AND THE AFFECTS ON SMALLER VS. LARGER RACING ORGANIZATIONS: "If you have more money, more people and more assets and you don't do a better job with something than they do, then shame on you. The more they limit, the harder it is to gain an advantage but the more they limit the things that you can work on those things become that much more important. I think it has potential to make it easier for a single-car or two-car team to compete against a four or five car team but I don't think it guarantees it by any means. The teams that take the equipment and does the best job with it are the teams that will be successful. If we can't work on the body, we're going to work on the front section or we're going to find something to work on. The more that they limit us though, without a doubt, the less opportunity to gain."

WILL WARD BURTON EVER RACE AGAIN? "I don't know. Everybody asks me that all the time. I know that there's a tremendous amount of talent there. I know that he can drive a race car. I think the biggest decision for Ward is if he doesn't get the top-notch Cup ride is he willing to do a Busch or Truck (ride). Owners seem to be willing to make investments in young guys today where in the past they weren't and that's played against himself for sure. He's extremely talent obviously. As soon as he wants to get back in and if he does, he'll come back and give all of his effort. I don't know who will be there for him but someone will offer something and it will be his decision whether or not he thinks it is in his best interest. If he gets an offer to drive for someone that's not a Rick Hendrick or a Richard Childress, is it in his best interest to do a Truck or Busch ride?"

ON THE NCAA TOURNAMENT: "There are a lot of sports fans in the garage. Tomorrow the conversation will be who won and all that. No North Carolina, no Duke, so that takes a lot of fans out of it in this arena because there are some North Carolina fans but I do believe there are a lot of sports fans in the garage and there will be a lot of conversation about it tonight."

-gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton