Darlington: Ford Jeff Burton interview

Jeff Burton, driver of the No. 99 CITGO Taurus, will be making his 300th career NASCAR Winston Cup Series start this weekend. Burton, who comes into the weekend ninth in point standings, spoke about the milestone and his season to date. JEFF ...

Jeff Burton, driver of the No. 99 CITGO Taurus, will be making his 300th career NASCAR Winston Cup Series start this weekend. Burton, who comes into the weekend ninth in point standings, spoke about the milestone and his season to date.

JEFF BURTON - No. 99 CITGO Taurus

YOU'VE WON THREE STRAIGHT BUSCH SERIES RACES HERE AT DARLINGTON. HOW FRUSTRATING IS IT NOT TO HAVE A CHANCE TO KEEP THAT GOING?

"It's real disappointing. I really like Darlington and I obviously like the Busch cars, too, so to not be able to do either one is really disappointing. I like Busch racing and I think it's real special to come to Darlington to race. Certainly, whenever you have a winning streak you hate to lose it by not even trying and that's what we're having to do. We've worked real hard to get sponsorship and it's just not there for us. The economy is tough and there's a lot of uncertainty in the world, and that's just kept corporate America away from racing and we're one of those teams paying a price for that."

IT'S YOUR 300TH CAREER START IN WINSTON CUP THIS WEEKEND, BUT DALE JARRETT IS MAKING HIS 500TH and BILL ELLIOTT HIS 700th. JUST THINK HOW LONG IT WILL TAKE TO GET TO THOSE?

"I don't know if I'll make it to 700 (laughing). I don't really look at numbers and stats very much, but when you think about it being your 300th race, that means you've been around for a while. The great thing is that I'm still fairly young, so I have a lot of experience but also have some youth to me and that's pretty cool. A lot of people who have 300 races are quite a bit older than I am, so I feel good about that. I feel good about where I've been in my career, but I'm more concentrated on where we're going. The last couple of years haven't been the way we wanted them to be and we're working real hard to get that turned around. When you look at people like Bill Elliott, a guy that struggled for quite a few years and then last year came back and did a great job. And you look at Dale Jarrett, a guy that really struggled the first part of his career, but the second part of his career he has been really competitive. So there are a lot of ways to get it done and the amount of success that we have has been greater than the amount of success that we haven't had. We just need to get our deal running and get us where we can win races again. If not, it doesn't matter how many races you run. I don't show up just to run races, I show up to try to win races and we're looking forward to that opportunity again."

YOU'RE IN THE TOP 10 IN POINTS GOING INTO THIS RACE. HOW HAS YOUR SEASON BEEN SO FAR?

"At Rockingham we didn't get any practice at all due to weather conditions and also the strategy we put into play. That backfired on us, so we ended up finishing 11th or 12th. At Daytona we finished 11th or 12th with a backup car, which was a pretty good run all things considered and knowing how much slower the backup car was to the primary car. At Las Vegas we ran really well. We qualified well and ran well. We struggled a little bit in making the car better during the race and that's part of being a new team. Then at Atlanta we had an unspectacular day. We didn't run very well and then we ended up breaking on top of that, so we certainly haven't been extraordinary, but at worst we've been a top 10 or top 12 car. That's OK to start the year. That's not OK if we end the year like that. We've got to keep building on what we've got, but we're a young team with a new attitude and a lot of new ideas. It's gonna take us a little while to get all of those things figured out, plus with the 100 percent new body rules, we're trying to figure those things out too. We have a lot of changes on our team, but without breaking an engine last week we would be in the top five in points and that's where we wanted to be. When we get to the first weekend off, my goal is to still be in the top seven or eight in points and we feel like we can be there with Darlington, Bristol and Texas coming up. Those are tracks that I really like and I think we can be real competitive."

-ford-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Bill Elliott , Dale Jarrett