Burton, Cat Racing Team Twist & Turn to Ninth-Place at The Glen In typical Jeff Burton fashion, the South Boston, Va., native used patience and fortitude to overcome a 22nd-place starting position in Sunday's 90-lap showdown at Watkins Glen...
Burton, Cat Racing Team Twist & Turn to Ninth-Place at The Glen
In typical Jeff Burton fashion, the South Boston, Va., native used patience and fortitude to overcome a 22nd-place starting position in Sunday's 90-lap showdown at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International to post a ninth-place finish that advanced him two spots, to third, in the Sprint Cup Series point standings.
At the same time, the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing driver broke a seven-race spell in which he has finished outside the top 10 at the 11-turn road course. The solid run by the Cat Racing team firmly places them inside the bubble to compete for the 2010 championship. With four races remaining before the 12-member Chase for the Sprint Cup class is set, Burton's cushion on the cutoff spot is 264 markers after 22 races this season.
As with every race, finding the right setup and having speed are important qualities to look for in your race car. But, being able to place your car at the right points on the race track, while making both right- and left-hand turns, and sticking to your predetermined pit strategy is important when it comes to road-course racing. This weekend, the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet had it all.
After rolling off the starting grid on the outside of row 11, conservative racing by the veteran driver set the tone for the rest of the afternoon. He quietly broke inside the top 15 at lap 18 before giving up his real estate to pit under green-flag conditions eight laps later as part of his and crew chief Todd Berrier's strategy.
Returning to action, in 16th, after a slowdown for a car off course on laps 28 and 29, the 21-time Sprint Cup Series race winner methodically worked his way into 12th before Berrier summoned him back onto pit lane on lap 58 for his final pit stop of the day.
A stroke of luck went the No. 31 team's way as the third yellow flag of the day was displayed four laps later while being scored 20th in the running order. Many competitors had yet to make their pit stops and took advantage of the caution period to do so, moving Burton to 11th on the lap-64 restart.
Two additional caution flags consumed the remaining 27 laps where, during that time, the RCR driver held the 10th position until passing teammate Kevin Harvick on the final lap for ninth.
Earnhardt-Childress Racing Engines powered Juan Pablo Montoya to his second career victory and their fifth triumph of the 2010 season. The balance of the top five consisted of Kurt Busch, Marcos Ambrose, A.J. Allmendinger and Carl Edwards.
RCR stablemates Harvick and Clint Bowyer finished 11th and 32nd, respectively.
NASCAR's premier division returns to the Irish Hills next weekend for the second and final stop of the season in Brooklyn, Mich.
ESPN's live coverage of the CARFAX 400 begins Sunday, August 15, at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.
"The No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet ran well but, our qualifying effort hurt us. My stats here at Watkins Glen show that I haven't been very good, so I took more of the conservative approach, especially at the end of the race. Now that I have this race behind me, it's time to go race."