Michigan: Jeff Burton - GM top-ten interview

Behind the Hauler Chat with Jeff Burton, No. 31 Cingular Wireless Monte Carlo SS On your father: "My father is a very strong-willed, opinionated, confident person and he will pretty easily convince himself that he knows more about a...

Behind the Hauler Chat with Jeff Burton, No. 31 Cingular Wireless Monte Carlo SS

On your father:

"My father is a very strong-willed, opinionated, confident person and he will pretty easily convince himself that he knows more about a subject than a person who really should know more about that subject. I do that all the time. When I do that, I think 'that's John Burton coming out right there." Certainly around the kids I find myself, my son is almost five and racing quarter midgets, my father, when I was seven, the way he spoke to me I find myself speaking to my son. A lot of things I see similar. I think "that's John Burton right there." My daughter is, personality-wise, a lot like me. Her behavior about certain things, her demeanor is a lot like me. I'm not only noticing it, a lot of people notice it. There's no question that behavior is genetic. She definitely has a lot of me in her."

Does racing make raising children more difficult?

"I think my children have experienced more than most children their age do. A lot of it has to do with me not being a "nine-to-five father". The other side of that is that my children been exposed to things, have had to deal with issues, they've had to mature at a higher rate. So I think in most ways it's about the sport. This sport has a way of helping you. I think that how I as a father respond to things that aren't going well is a great opportunity to teach the kids something. They see good days, they see bad days. My job is out in the open where everyone can see it. I'm not in an office and come home and I can leave it at the office; it's with us all the time. In fact, I think it's better because it has exposed them to so much of what we have to deal with and that will help them when they have to grow up and deal with issues. I happen to think that my job helps me be a better father. I really do."

On MIS:

"To be quite honest, we look at it as a big short track. A real big short track. We don't need to think about straightaways. We need to think about getting around corners. I don't think it being a small racetrack. I think about it as a real big short track."

On racing video games:

"I'm real concerned because my five-year-old can beat me, and if my five-year-old can beat me then how good am I really at this?"

Is this race more important than a lot of other ones?

"I'm not a guy that believes any one race is the pivotal race before the race starts. When the race is over, circumstances can make that race more important. You can't look at one race track and say, 'without a doubt, this race track means a whole lot because.' It's all about circumstances and things that happen. Going into the race, this week's race is just as important as last week's race or next week's race."

On Jeff Gordon struggling:

"I don't need to make comments on another team. I can tell you that they work hard and you've got to have everything working to be successful. Jeff Gordon knows how to drive, Hendrick Motorsports knows how to build a good race car, but right now, if you're off a little bit, it shows up. I don't know enough about the insides of their program but I still consider them to be an exceptionally good race team."

"We've done very well on a road course and our expectation is to go there and run in the front. It seems like we're always running in the top five or six. Our expectations are up there but we need to do a better job of finishing. At Sears Point last year we were running in the top ten and we had a top-five car but got wrecked."

On video games as a training method:

"My five-year-old can beat me so if my five-year-old can beat me, than how good am I, really? I don't have the highest-tech technology to get an advantage by playing a video game. My engineer is looking into that. Right now when I'm sitting with a joystick in my hand I'm not quite convinced."

Why are some guys so convinced that it works?

"You convince yourself on anything. This sport has a way of monkey see, monkey do being the thing to do and if you are doing something that's working for you, that's working for you. The problem is that a lot of people look at what's working for somebody and they think that's going to work for them. I'm sure, without a doubt, that using a video game is effective for some people. For me, I've been to Pocono enough times and played the video game and I find everything just wrong with the game. I don't find stuff just right. I'm a little confused to how effective this can be. Is it an excuse like 'hey, boss. I can't go do an appearance or I can't come to work because I've got to play video games all day.' I mean, how much beer do you drink when you play these video games. I'm just a little confused."

On racing against Gordon now compared to five years ago:

"His car's not as fast. I'm not saying his car won't be as fast but right now, his cars don't do the things they used to do relative to the competition. I'm a great example of you don't just roll out of bed one day and forget how to drive, Jeff Gordon hasn't forgotten how to drive. They are a huge force in this sport and will be a huge force in this sport in the future. But right now for whatever reason, they don't go as fast through the corners as they used to go through the corners. That's just how it is. The thing about the No. 24 is they've done such a great job that when they're not doing so great everybody thinks they're doing terrible. It's hard. they're not in the top 10 in points right now but they're not far out of it. If you look at where we are, they're not far behind us. I wouldn't count them out for anything."

-gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , John Burton
Teams Hendrick Motorsports