* This Week's Caterpillar Chevrolet at Atlanta Motor Speedway ... Jeff Burton will pilot chassis No. 291 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. Built new for the 2010 season, Burton drove this Caterpillar Chevrolet...
* This Week's Caterpillar Chevrolet at Atlanta Motor Speedway ... Jeff Burton will pilot chassis No. 291 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. Built new for the 2010 season, Burton drove this Caterpillar Chevrolet Impala to a third-place finish two weeks ago at Auto Club Speedway.
* Atlanta Details ... In 31 starts at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Burton boasts seven top-five and 13 top-10 finishes. He has a best career finish of fourth, which he accomplished four different times (March 1994, Nov. 1998, March 1999 and March 2007).
* Burton Loopy in Atlanta ... According to NASCAR's loop data statistics, Burton is ranked in the top 10 in the Average Running Position category. His average running position of the last 10 races at the 1.54-mile oval is 14.6. Burton is also the eighth-best driver when it comes to quantity of laps driven in the top 15. Out of 3,259 total laps, the South Boston, Va., native completed 2,2285 laps while running in the top 15 (68.4%).
* Over the First Three ... Over the first three Sprint Cup Series races in the 2010 season, Burton has not finished outside the top 11. The veteran driver's average finish of 8.3 ranks him sixth amongst his competitors. He has an average running position of 12.9, completed all laps contested and has led a total of 46 laps thus far.
* Local Flavor ... One member from the Cat Racing team hails from the state of Georgia. Jackman Adam North grew up in Sonoraville, Ga. In addition to his race day duty on the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, North is also a fabricator in RCR's Sprint Cup Series shop.
Can you talk about the difference in where RCR was at this point last year versus where it is today?
"We were seventh in the point standings 12 races into the season last year. So, even though we weren't running well, we will still managing the year. What we couldn't do was find enough speed to carry that through and running in positions we didn't need to be in and ended up getting into wrecks. What I have enjoyed about this year so far, and toward the end of last year, is that we have speed. And, with speed, you can make things happen. When you're running midpack, you are at the mercy of a lot of things. The speed gives us an opportunity to do some things we weren't able to do last year. Now, we can go fast and be 25th in points or we can go fast and get more points. We're three races into a 26-race preseason before the real race starts and we still have a lot of work to do to. We need to take that intensity that we have brought into this year and carry it into the entire year."
All three of RCR's Sprint Cup Series teams are in the top seven in the point standings. What does that say about off-season preparation?
"That's when you feel like you're where you need to be and we're headed in the right direction. For years, there was one team that carried the other RCR teams. We need to be a company where all three teams run similar to each other, but it needs to be good. Having both Kevin (Harvick) and Clint (Bowyer) running well makes me run well. It enables us to use information and share notes to be everyone better. The sign of really being tuned in is when all of the teams run well. Obviously, we want to be the best RCR car, but the key for us to be the best car in the Sprint Cup garage is for the entire company to be working right."
What challenges does Atlanta Motor Speedway present?
"The biggest challenge is the way the speed falls off so much. It's like the track has two personalities. You have to be aggressive and drive hard for qualifying and then, when the race starts, you race it like you used to race Darlington. The place gets really slick and real slimy. It's amazing the amount of grip you don't have there. You have to have a car that makes more grip than your competitors and making the most out of that is what will put you in the Winner's Circle. Even the best handling car there in the last few years has handled awful. So, finding a way to do it better than your competition in a low, low grip arena will be the biggest challenge."
Do you enjoy competing at Atlanta Motor Speedway?
"Atlanta is one of my favorite racetracks. I really enjoy going there and I'm excited about running there this year. It's one of those places where I think we have a good shot of winning. To me, it's a great challenge. The difference between qualifying and racing there is so big. The track gets so slick during the race and becomes a blast to drive on. You have to get up on the wheel and drive the car. It's so much fun. As a race car driver, that's the kind of racing you hope for."