Bristol: Burton post race interview

JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELESS IMPALA SS - FINISHED SECOND ON BATTLING WITH KYLE BUSCH AT THE END OF THE RACE: "I've taken two away from Kyle in the Busch (Series) thing and it was kind of cool for it to come down to us again. Scott ...

JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELESS IMPALA SS - FINISHED SECOND

ON BATTLING WITH KYLE BUSCH AT THE END OF THE RACE:

"I've taken two away from Kyle in the Busch (Series) thing and it was kind of cool for it to come down to us again. Scott Miller (crew chief) made a great call there to come in and put on tires there. I'm real proud of him for making that call rather than getting conservative and trying to finish third or fourth or whatever. He knew people behind us were going to pit. I can remember watching Terry Labonte drive through the field years ago when he and Earnhardt got together. I had that in my mind. I was like 'I want to pit. I want to pit.' But the 24 started down pit road and Scott yelled pit. I was really glad he did because it was probably going to be on pit road at that point. It was a lot of fun. I have a lot of respect for Kyle. He's a really hard racer. He gives 100 percent. He's always driven me clean and that's what I did with him."

ON HIS ASSESSMENT OF THE IMPALA SS AND IF THIS WAS TAMER THAN THE TYPICAL BRISTOL RACE:

"I will say that if my car last year handled the way that my car handled today, we would not have run second with new tires or old tires. Certainly these cars don't drive as well as the cars we had last year but they are what they are. You've got to make them handle well. I thought the race was a lot like a Bristol race. It wasn't very calm where I was for the most part of the race but I thought it was real similar to a normal Bristol race. The Car of Tomorrow is certainly a difficult thing for us to deal with but if it's difficult for everybody then really the only thing that matters is how you are in relation to your competition not how you are in relation to what the car would have been later. That's really inconsequential at this point. Coming here I said whoever won the race would have done the best job and they deserved to win the race and whoever did bad, it wasn't the Car of Tomorrow's fault. It was the driver and team's fault. That's the way I still feel."

ON THE LAST LAP IT SEEMS COMMON HERE TO USE THE BUMPER TO MOVE SOMEBODY TO WIN THE RACE. WHEN WOULD YOU USE THE BUMPER? HAVE YOU UNDONE A PRECEDENT OF USING THE BUMPER TO MOVE SOMEONE TO WIN A RACE?

"Obviously I could have used the bumper and moved him out of the way and won the race but I try not to do that. I can lay in bed tonight wondering what ifs but that's just what I chose to do. It wasn't because I wanted him to win more than I wanted to win. It's just that's what I try to do. Jeff and I were racing pretty hard earlier. On that last run he was really tight. I didn't use a bumper on him either and by the way I don't think he would have used the bumper on me. I hope you wouldn't. I don't know. I don't know if it's the right thing to do or not. I know that half the people in the grandstands believe it wasn't the right thing to do and half of them probably believe it was. That's what I try to do - right, wrong or indifferent - that's how I try to do it."

ON A LOT OF SINGLE FILE RACING UP FRONT WITH THE STRONGER CARS. DO YOU THINK THAT HAD TO DO WITH THE UNFAMILIARITY OF THE CAR OF TOMORROW OR THE WORN OUT CONCRETE HERE?

"Since we had concrete here, we've never had side-by-side racing. It's always single file. If you're going outside you're going to be double side but you're going to be doublewide going to the back. I didn't think the race was any different today than we had last year. That's my point of my view. I may be wrong but my point of view was it was just another race at Bristol."

ON THE LAST LAP, DOES IT MATTER WHO IS IN FRONT OF YOU?

"It matters a lot. My deal is I try to race everybody clean. My mother always told me do unto other people as you want them to do you. That's cool until they prove to you that they're not going to do that to you. I let them make the rules. If that's the rules they want to live by then that's the rules we'll live by. That's the only thing I know to do. People make mistakes. The 25 slowed down in a wreck today and I didn't get slowed down as much and I spun him out but you knew it was a total accident. I don't know. I've always tried to let the guy that I'm racing with set the rules. Kyle has always set the rules with me. He drives hard. He drives really hard but he's always driven me with respect so that's the way I drive him."

NOW THAT YOU HAVE ONE RACE UNDER YOU HAVE ONE RACE UNDER YOUR BELT WITH THIS CAR, DO YOU FEEL MORE OR LESS ENCOURAGED ABOUT IT FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON?

"I think the media have tried to make so much about the Car of Tomorrow. We think about it as our job to make it work. We don't have a choice. What choice do we have? We can complain about it or we can love it. But at the end of the day, they're going to pay us points and pay us money how we finish. It doesn't matter if we like the car or if we love the car. The only thing that matters is the result so I'm not encouraged. I'm not discouraged. I believe if you give Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Richard Childress Racing, Jack Roush, whatever you give them, whatever box you put them in, they're going to do their very best to build a car that's better than the people they're racing against. That's what we do. That's our jobs. I think it's going to be fine because the teams have to make it that way. We have no choice. That's my opinion. I think it's going to be a handful at Darlington. I think it's going to be hard to drive. I think it's going to be real hard to drive. That means that Jeff Gordon is going to shine because he's a really good driver. That means his team is going to do well because they're a really good team. That's what we do. That's our job to try to do it better than everybody else. It doesn't matter how you drive with it by yourself. It only matters how fast it goes in relation to your competition. That's really all that matters.

"You can have a street stock race here and it'd be a good race. You can't judge the Car of Tomorrow today. It's impossible. There weren't any catastrophic problems because of the Car of Tomorrow but the race wasn't great because of the Car of Tomorrow. The race at Bristol is going to be a good race. It doesn't matter what you do."

GOING TO MARTINSVILLE AND NOT HAVING THE BENEFIT OF TESTING THERE, WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES GOING TO BE?

"I think we're starting further towards zero. I think it's going to be a bigger challenge. Testing with a new piece is very advantageous. So yeah, I think next week is even a bigger challenge than this week was just because we don't have any information. I think every team went home from the test and experimented a lot here, learned a lot and then came and tried to apply that and learned more on Friday and even more on Saturday and tried to apply that. I'll tell you, when I looked at Jeff's car Saturday morning and they looked really slow. We were really slow but it's a building process. Both teams kept building, building, building and finally made our cars pretty good. I know the 29 was the same way. We had whatever it was 12 hours or whatever testing here. We don't have that in Martinsville. It will be easier to get lost that's for sure."

DID YOU REALLY LEARN MUCH TODAY? IF SO, WHAT DID YOU LEARN THAT YOU DIDN'T ALREADY KNOW?

"Well you know that if we learned something, we're not going to say what we learned. That wouldn't be very productive. I'm sure every team learned throughout the day and they learned throughout the weekend and we'll apply all that we can to Martinsville. The tracks are completely different obviously but there's some things that we can probably apply but there's a whole lot that won't apply. I happen to think that the Richmond test in two weeks is going to be really important for getting ready for Phoenix and Richmond obviously. There's a little bit we can learn from this weekend but not a whole lot."

ON HIS PIT ROAD SPEEDING PENALTY:

"You'd never talk to a driver that sped on pit road that said 'Yeah, I was speeding on pit road.' I don't think there was a conspiracy out there to catch me for speeding on pit road when I wasn't. I will tell you that I came in behind the 29. I don't know how I was speeding and he wasn't. I need to go back and review that. Luckily I have an in-car camera and I can go back and review that and figured out what happened there. Obviously I was speeding. Yeah, it enters my mind because that's track position. It took us forever to get it back. We were really fortunate to get back as far as we did.

"We were fortunate to have a good enough car to do that. On the other hand had we had the track position we might not have come in and gotten tires. So who knows? I don't like putting us in the position going from sixth, fifth or wherever we were running to 16th. That's unacceptable. That's not something that something that somebody with my experience should be doing. Again, I will tell you I was confused how I was speeding but obviously I was."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Terry Labonte , Jack Roush
Teams Richard Childress Racing , Hendrick Motorsports