Continued from part 1 Q: A lot of drivers nowadays are using sports psychologists. Have you ever used one, and what do you think the benefits will be? JEFF BURTON: Well, I've been a big proponent of sports psychology for a long time,...
Continued from part 1
Q: A lot of drivers nowadays are using sports psychologists. Have you ever used one, and what do you think the benefits will be?
JEFF BURTON: Well, I've been a big proponent of sports psychology for a long time, actually. I know they talk about the things that I do to prepare myself.
I'm by no means a newcomer in that business. I believe that everybody's different. I don't think I don't believe you can lay a curriculum out for someone that says this will make you the best race car driver anymore than you can lay the curriculum out and say this is going to make you the best farmer or pilot or whatever it is you want to be.
You have to determine personally, individually what works best for you. Some people, you know, may not get much advantage in the sports psychologist. Some people may not get much advantage at a nutritionist or with a trainer. It just depends on who you are. I think it's important for whoever you're working with to understand that, too.
This is a specialty sport. There are things that I'm really good at that I don't really need any help with. There are things that I'm not good at at all that I could definitely use some help on.
So understanding what they are is really important. And again, a psychologist or any type of profession that can help you do a better job, I think it's really useful. I think if you're not willing to look at every kind of option, you're leaving yourself short. But the amount of gain is different depending on who you are.
Q: What made you turn to one? Any specific incident or anything that made you feel like it would be a benefit?
JEFF BURTON: No, not really. I just you know, I just at the end of the day I believe that there's I don't want to get too philosophical here, but I believe that if you look at psychology in a negative way in that if you think about people who have physical problems because of the psychological problems, that means the brain is extremely strong. So if you can harness that power and use it to your advantage, then that's a good thing.
So what opened my eyes to it was being in a situation where I knew some people that psychologically were letting that have an impact on their everyday life. I looked at that and thought, wow. You know, what if you turn that around and use it to an advantage rather than a disadvantage. That's kind of what opened my eyes to being willing to sit down and talk.
Q: Tony Stewart's got a full time job Monday through Thursday preparing for a race team next season. Could that be a benefit in taking his mind off the Chase this time of the year?
JEFF BURTON: Again, everybody's different. I'm not going to sit here and say Tony Stewart would be benefited by going to a psychologist. I'm not going to do that. I think everybody is different.
You know, Tony is embarking on a very difficult I mean, what he's going to do is very, very difficult. End of story. How they structure that team and the way they go about building that business around Tony will have a great deal to do with how successful Tony can be.
Tony can't be everything. Nobody can. Nobody can pay attention to driving these race cars. Put everything else behind you, and when when everything else behind you is huge.
I look at Richard Childress and I think good God. Look at all the stuff he has on his shoulders. I don't think Richard Childress could do all the things he does today and drive a race car. I think it would be impossible. It would be for me, anyway. So they're going to have to structure that thing so Tony can focus on driver the race car, and help in areas that don't distract from Tony. They have to be things that can help, not hurt.
You know, I don't know how the structure is. There's all different ways to have ownership in a team. He may have very little to do with day to day decisions, he may have a lot to do with it. I don't know which it's going to be. But it has to be done productive, not counterproductive.
Q: Pit road speeding violations are kind of rare for Chase drivers at this time. Do you see them as just kind of dumb mistakes made by the drivers, and were you surprised by Tony's penalty? And how has it affected you? Have you ever been in that situation?
JEFF BURTON: Well, let me tell you about pit road. And I understand that being on pit road is kind of like if you're a football fan, the kicker kicking the ball out of bounds and putting the ball on the 40.
When you look at that you think how stupid can you be? But here's what you've got to remember. Our pit crews work their job is to make the very best pit stop they can possibly make. If they miss it by half of a second, we get beat by two or three cars out on pit road.
Well, think about pit road's speed. If pit road's speed's 55 miles an hour, the real story is they don't bust you until you go 60 miles per hour. There is a 5 mile an hour variance. The difference between going 59 miles per hour and 55 miles per hour is significant in the amount of time that you can lose on pit road.
So we are asked as drivers to push everything that we can to give ourselves and the team the best chance possible to beat people out on pit road.
You don't go down pit road, and you don't have the luxury of saying, well, pit road speed is 55, I can go 45. You don't have that luxury. You've got to be able to go 59 miles per hour. We do that with a tachometer. We don't have a speedometer. We do it by looking at RPMs. It's not an exact science.
So when you start pushing the rules in an area where it's not an exact science, it's very easy to speed. If you're trying to do your job 100%. If you're trying to go 59.9 miles per hour down pit road versus 45 miles an hour, that's a huge difference. A huge difference in how your pit crew can perform.
So on the surface of it, it looks like a really, really stupid mistake. But when you really look into it, we are trying to get 100% of our speed so we can have the best pit stop and obviously beat people out on pit road.
Q: Jeff, while growing up, did you ever imagine yourself or see yourself being part of a grand show like NASCAR and acquiring the celebrity status that goes with it now?
JEFF BURTON: No. Not only did I never I never really even thought about it. I mean, honestly, when I was racing go karts, I was dreaming of driving a race car. But I wasn't dreaming of driving like in Winston Cup. I didn't think like that. As a matter of fact, I still don't think like that today.
I always wanted to be a race car driver. That's what I wanted to do. But I never really put A and B together and realized that for me to be at the top series, I had to be a Cup driver. I never put that together. So I just always wanted to race. But I never really knew how or what to win, but I always wanted to race. So, no, I never did imagine.
Q: From that side of the fence, fame might look really glamorous. Could you tell a fan maybe what the glamour isn't really all it is? Or maybe it is. Maybe it does look that way.
JEFF BURTON: Well, you're not going to get me to tell you that I don't have the best job in the world. It's certainly not just showing up on a Sunday afternoon and driving a car around, it's certainly not like that. I think there are a lot of real, real casual fans, kind of every so often fans that don't understand the amount of effort, energy it requires to be in this sport.
When I tell people we have 400 employees, their jaw hits the floor. They have no idea. They think it's like 12 of us, maybe. They don't understand how big it is.
People don't know that on Tuesdays, you know not every Tuesday, but three or four days a week I'm gone doing personal services stuff. I'm not doing personal services stuff, but stuff with sponsors. I'm gone testing. Those things aren't in the media so you don't see them.
This is a very difficult way to make a living. It's a lot of time away from home. I've spent well, well over 200 days from home last year. I think it was 250 days from home last year.
But I love what I do. You have a hard time getting me to tell you I have a tough deal. I'm 41 years old, and I'm doing what I wanted to do when I was 7. I mean, think about that. Think about a 7 year old looking you in the eye and saying I want to be a fireman, I want to be a race car driver, I want to be an astronaut, and then doing it. That's what I'm doing.
I love what I do for a living. It is difficult, but it's supposed to be difficult. This is the highest form of racing in North America. It's supposed to be hard. If it's not hard, then something's wrong. It requires a lot of effort, and a lot of time, but it is what it is.
Q: The traditional school of thought was, you know, do your best, win as many races as you can in the first 26, and then get in the Chase. And Kyle was a perfect example of that, winning eight races. Now that that advantage was wiped away in a half a race, do you think that school of thought will be a little different for next year?
JEFF BURTON: Well, I don't know how winning eight races was counterproductive in any form or fashion. I mean, winning eight races didn't cause this problem at New Hampshire.
At the end of the day you want to win every race you can, because that means you're having success. I think one of the big misconceptions about points I think a lot of people think we go into a race, it's in their mind if we finish tenth, it's a good day. It's not like that. We go into every race trying to win the race. If you can't win the race, you try to finish second. If you can't finish second, you try to finish third. You want to finish as high as you can. You're not going to win every race, obviously. But you race to go win as many races as you can. But that's what we do.
HERB BRANHAM: I apologize. I think we had one or two more questions for Jeff Burton remaining on the call. For those media who were unable to ask, we had some technical difficulties. But want to thank everybody for participating in Week 2 of the Chase, and to Jeff Burton, chances of going into Dover and doing well, obviously looks good. Thank you very much for participating. We always appreciate the coverage.