NOTE: Ward Burton was named Thursday to drive the NetZero HiSpeed Pontiac Grand Prix for the final four races of 2003 and all of 2004. The announcement was made Thursday afternoon at Lowe's Motor Speedway. WARD BURTON COMMENTS: "It's been a ...
NOTE: Ward Burton was named Thursday to drive the NetZero HiSpeed Pontiac Grand Prix for the final four races of 2003 and all of 2004. The announcement was made Thursday afternoon at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
WARD BURTON COMMENTS:
"It's been a pretty crazy week, but I want to tell you all that I'm really excited about this opportunity. I've been with Bill Davis Racing for about 8 years, and when I went there it was a relatively new team. Together, in those 8 years, we worked really hard and we made a successful program and formed a successful program for our sponsors and we won races. I feel like I played my part in that and I was treated well in a lot of cases. At the same time, circumstances present themselves that you don't have control over and this is one of those circumstances. Sometimes, it's time to move on and that's where I am today."
"What's really exciting, and what I want to emphasize, is how excited I am about working with Haas Racing and NetZero and the support they have from Rick Hendrick's organization. I feel like, together with the concentrated effort and teamwork, we're going to work really hard and make this a successful program. I had a friend tell me this morning that it's like when the bird chases a little bird out of the nest. The bird has two choices: he's going to fall to the ground or he's going to learn to fly. Well, the bird's going down and he learned to fly. I've got my wings and I'm going to a new opportunity and I'm real excited about it. We're going to work hard together and put this team where it's supposed to be."
WHAT WAS THE TIME FRAME ON THIS DEAL?
"The situation presented itself this week at Martinsville, where a change was made and I found out from some questions from the media. It looked like, particularly in light of that situation, that this was the thing to do."
WILL YOU RUN ANY RACES IN THE CAR THIS YEAR?
"In our negotiations this week, we both suggested that may be something that might fit better for Bill Davis Racing and Haas Racing and we mutually agreed to do this. I plan to run the last four races with Gene Haas and his team and NetZero."
SO YOU'RE MOVING ON?
"That what this is. For whatever reason, there were situations that were out of our control. We worked really hard at making it work and there were times in our past that it was working. Right now it's not, and I think it was time, and obviously there are some folks on the other end of it that thought it was time, so here we are."
YOUR NAME WAS BOUNCED AROUND IN SEVERAL OTHER SITUATIONS. WAS THIS THE ONLY OPPORTUNITY YOU HAD?
"This looked like to me, the team that wanted me the most, a team that I could be a part of its growth from the ground up and a team with the best opportunity for growth in the future. I look at this as a move, if we continue to work together at the philosophy that we have now--which I have all intention and they do to of making it work--at this time next year, we'll be talking about some other exciting things and some other announcements and I have all intentions of making that happen."
HOW LONG IS THE DEAL FOR?
"It's for the final four races of this year and next year."
WILL YOU HAVE TWO CARS OR WILL JASON LEFFLER BE OUT?
"The plans right now are to have Jason in a Busch car for the final four races and myself in the NetZero car."