Burton's left foot hurts, but his right is just fine By Dan McCorriston FORT WORTH, Texas (March 31, 2000) As the No. 22 Caterpillar Pontiac came to a screeching halt along the finish line wall during Friday's afternoon practice at Texas Motor...
Burton's left foot hurts, but his right is just fine
By Dan McCorriston
FORT WORTH, Texas (March 31, 2000) As the No. 22 Caterpillar Pontiac came to a screeching halt along the finish line wall during Friday's afternoon practice at Texas Motor Speedway, so too did Ward Burton's hopes of a strong Bud Pole Qualifying run. Or so it seemed.
Burton was slightly injured in the wreck, bruising his left foot, while his primary car was mangled.
"The left front hit the bump down in the middle of Turns 3 and 4 and made the front end go up a bit," explained Burton. "I tried to correct it and around she went."
After receiving medical attention in the infield medical center, Burton got ready for Bud Pole Qualifying in the team's backup car. Since he only needed his right foot to accelerate, perhaps the injury wouldn't be a factor.
Excused from his drawn starting position, he took the last run in a car that had no practice laps this weekend. Despite this ominous task, Burton notched an excellent ninth overall Bud Pole Qualifying run for Sunday's DIRECTV 500.
"I'm so proud of this race team," said Burton. "They do a hell of a job for me."
Burton's season thus far has been marked by stunning success with only one disappointing finish. If you take away his 37th-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway his average finish in the five other races this year is an amazing 8.6.
The consistency Burton has shown this year has propelled him into a second overall position in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series point standings. It looks as if the accident during practice was 'just one of them racing deals' and the No. 22 Pontiac team has what it takes to get back on track quickly after a tough break. Burton thinks that the team can take it one step further and actually put the backup car in Victory Lane.
"This car is awesome. This car is just as good a car as the one that's going in the truck right now that I tore up. Those guys just went back and changed a little bit of what messed me up in the other car. I'm not blaming them. I was the one driving it. I'm just lucky to be a part of it."
Another thing that Burton can draw a positive outlook from is his past performance at Texas Motor Speedway. He's always finished in the top-20 there, and finished his seventh-place last year was actually a disappointment after he led for much of the race.
"Last year we were leading the race, came into the pits and Mark Martin blew a tire which brought out the one caution," said Burton. "We just got caught pitting and we were never able to get back up there with the leaders."
Now, the only question left is does Burton feel physically fit enough to race on Sunday.
"I'm a little sore. It hit pretty damn hard. I don't want to do that again any time soon. I'm fine. That (starting position) made me feel a whole lot better though."