BEHIND THE HAULER CHAT WITH JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELESS MONTE CARLO SS ON BRISTOL: "Bristol is a very tough race track. It's obviously part of the game and trying to stay out of trouble and making it to the end. But we're coming here...
BEHIND THE HAULER CHAT WITH JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELESS MONTE CARLO SS
ON BRISTOL: "Bristol is a very tough race track. It's obviously part of the game and trying to stay out of trouble and making it to the end. But we're coming here to compete like we do every week. We've got ourselves in position to hopefully transfer in because we've raced a certain way and we're not going to change. We're going to come to every race and try to win. That's what's gotten us to this point, and that's what we're going to continue to do."
IS THERE EXTRA PRESSURE LEADING INTO THE FINAL CHASE? "The reality of what we do is that we do the best we can every week. The outcome is the outcome. But the effort that goes into it is always the same. All you can do it do your job and hope that it all works out and the outcome is what you wanted. If it's not, then you learn from it and go home. But for me, there's no more pressure. This whole team is very relaxed. We understand the sport we're in and the position we're in."
IS RACING MORE FUN NOW SINCE YOU'RE IN THE TOP 10? "It's great to be in the mix. The cool thing about all this is I love to race. It's great to have people say oh golly, they had a bad week last week so now there's a lot of pressure on them. Pressure is when there is nothing good going on - when you're 25th in points with not a chance in hell of getting in it. That's what pressure is. What we're doing is what we tried to do. That's added pressure on us because we want to fulfill our goals. We're close enough that we can see it. The kind of pressure we're under right now is good pressure. That's the way it's supposed to be. This is a performance-oriented business and if you're not producing and we're always looking as to why a team isn't producing and certainly the driver has a huge impact on whether the team can produce or not. So when a team is not producing, the driver is looked at and scrutinized, as he should be. I don't think the Chase really impacts that a great deal. I think the Chase puts more pressure on more people because at this point four years ago, there were three or four cars that could win a championship and at this point right now, there's about 12. More teams are feeling the heat. But that's a good thing.
ON CALIFORNIA AND RICHMOND COMING UP "At California and Richmond we ran very well. At Richmond we had a great chance to win the race and I got us on pit road too early. At California, I don't remember where we finished, but I know we ran well all day. I feel good about the race tracks we're going to and the team. But we've got to go make that happen and earn it. But I like the tracks coming up. But so does Kurt Busch and Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch. There's nobody in the Chase hunt that you can look at and say they don't run good at that race track. Nobody. That's why there's a group at the top right now and they run good everywhere."
DO YOU FEEL LIKE IT'LL BE 11 GUYS FOR 10 SPOTS? "I think it's 11 with the possibility of 12. Somebody can get on a roll in these last three races and get some help with some other people having some trouble. As we saw last week, I went from fourth to ninth. If people do that like I did, and then the guy in 12th wins a race, we might have a 12-car race. It's possible. But the 12th place guy can't afford any problems. They've got to be clean. They've got to have really good runs."
ON THE PROGRESS OF CLINT BOWYER: "I think Clint is doing a really good job. I'm impressed with Clint. I thought he started doing very well and I think he's continued to improve. If you look at his record, it's not indicative of how they've run. He's really been mature and conservative and smart. I've been impressed with what they've been able to do. They're part of this company. They're helping us. We're just not helping them. Whenever you have a rookie driver, that's a good sign."
ON THE CAR OF TOMORROW TEST "Any time there is something different, there is mad panic. It isn't going to work. The sky is falling; the sky is falling. Everybody is going to go to work and make sure their sky doesn't fall. When we run that race car for the first time next year - which will be here - do you know what's going to happen? We're going to have a race and somebody is going to win. Somebody is going to wreck or break a motor or have a fight and it's just going to be a race. At the end of the day, the more we'll learn about it. It think the separation, performance-wise, will be wider than eventually it will be. Some will figure it out before others. Some will perform well and some can't. Eventually there is a possibility for a little less competition throughout the field, but in the long run it's just another race car and another race and it's going to be fine. We can complain and moan and groan about it or we can just go to work. The teams will go to work and they'll figure it out."
IS THIS BECOMING A NEW ERA OF DRIVERS AND CAR OWNERS MAKING SWITCHES EARLY FOR THE NEXT SEASON?
"It looks like it is. I don't know if it'll continue, but without a doubt, the trend is for people to make changes early and commit to each other and try to make that happen quicker than we used to. People ask me why and I don't know why. I think there is a lot of pressure from sponsors to know what's going on, but I really don't fully understand the trend.
"When you've made the decision to change, or the owner has made the decision to do something different, I think it's in everybody's best interest to get that relationship building as quickly as possible as long as we don't negatively impact the sponsors. We can never forget, that a sponsor's approval is paramount to this thing. When we start messing with the marketing and the merchandising and what the sponsorship requires to be successful, that's a bad thing. As long as the sponsors are good for it, the quicker you can make that move, the better."
-credit: gm racing