Daytona 500: Jeff Burton preview

* This Week's Caterpillar Chevrolet at Daytona International Speedway ... Jeff Burton will pilot Chassis No. 240 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This No. 31 racer served as a back-up car for all four ...

* This Week's Caterpillar Chevrolet at Daytona International Speedway ... Jeff Burton will pilot Chassis No. 240 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This No. 31 racer served as a back-up car for all four restrictor plate races last season.

* Start Your Engine ... The 52nd Daytona 500 will mark Burton's 548th career start in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. This will also be his 17th consecutive run in the prestigious event.

* Unfinished Business ... In 16 starts, the South Boston, Va., native has earned three top-five efforts. His best finish of second came in February 2000.

* Former Winner ... Although Burton has yet to carve his name on the Harley J. Earl trophy, he is a former winner at the famed Daytona International Speedway. He claimed victory under the lights in the July 2000 Coke Zero 400. In 32 starts at DIS, Burton has posted one win, six top-five and eight top-10 finishes.

* Coors Pole Winner ... Burton captured his one and only Coors Light pole position at Daytona for the 2006 Daytona 500.

* Bud Shootout Rewind ... Burton and the Cat Racing team's never-quit attitude helped them score a 12th-place finish in last weekend's Budweiser Shootout at DIS despite a flat left-rear tire just past the halfway mark. The unfortunate event placed Burton a lap down on the leaderboard for the majority of the remaining laps. A three-car incident brought out a caution flag five laps from the scheduled distance, putting Burton and team back in contention for a promising finish. The veteran driver was scored 20th on the green-white-checkered restart but as the field roared off Turn 2 and headed down the backstretch, an eight-car pile up occurred in front of Burton. Savvy driving allowed him to escape the melee and gain eight positions in the process.

* Caterpillar Launches New Racing Website ... Caterpillar, sponsor of RCR's No. 31 Chevrolet, launched a new interactive racing website. CatRacing.com was launched to provide NASCAR fans a one-stop shop for information on Burton and the entire Cat Racing team. The user-friendly website includes video and photo galleries, readily available race report information, news stories and much more. Visitors to the site can also shop Jeff Burton and Cat Racing team merchandise.

* Meet the Driver ... Burton will sign autographs at the Caterpillar souvenir hauler located in the display area, outside Turn 4, on Friday, Feb. 12 from 5 -- 5:30 p.m.

* Jeff Burton Live ... Fans can see Burton live Saturday, Feb. 13 at 9:10 a.m. on the Chevy Stage, located in the merchandise area outside Turn 4. Burton will be part of a question-and-answer session hosted by Chevrolet.

* Burton on Newsstands ... The veteran driver and his two children, Paige and Harrison, are one of three families featured in the February 14 issue of USA WEEKEND magazine. One third of the magazines published feature the Burton family on the cover while the other two thirds feature either Juan Pablo Montoya or Michael Waltrip and their respective children on the cover. The national publication, which is found in 600 newspapers across the country, also features an in-depth column on how the drivers juggle their racing career and father duties, along with a pull-out poster featuring all three families together.

JEFF BURTON:

How optimistic are you about your chances in this year's Daytona 500?

"I'm excited about it. You are what your record says you are. But, at the same time, you have to understand the circumstances and how you got the finishes that you did. I feel really good about racing in the Daytona 500. If you look back at my results, you might have laughed when I said that but, in the last three years, we had great chances to win that race."

What do you see the 2010 season shaping out to be for the Cat Racing team?

"I'm really proud of the effort the Cat Racing team has put in. I came into last season concerned about where we were because of the no-testing policy. I don't think we understood where we were competition-wise. This year has been a completely different atmosphere. The work that has gone on over the past six months is incredible. I'm extremely optimistic. I feel that we are going to compete at a really high level. I don't like to make predictions but our goal is to win the championship and I think we have an honest shot to do that."

Are the Duel 150 qualifying races a good learning tool for the Daytona 500?

"It's a big race for us. It's pretty interesting that sometimes you get really wild races and I feel like you learn more in those races than you do in calmer races. We've had a lot of single-file racing in the 150's because that's your Daytona 500 car. Drivers are more cautious than they will be in the Daytona 500. Sometimes, you don't learn as much because of the single-file racing than you would if it was a more hectic race. It's a good learning tool. No other race do we get a chance to practice under race conditions before the race and this is a chance to do that. And, I think it's a great way to learn your car before the Daytona 500.

What would it mean to you to win the 52nd running of the Daytona 500?

"Well, I have more years behind me than I have ahead of me and the more the years that go behind me the more I appreciate the Daytona 500. I've been lucky. I have filled out my list of big races pretty well. However, this one I haven't. It wouldn't make my career. This is a marquee race with a tremendous amount of history and being part of this event means a lot to me. But, I can honestly tell you if I don't ever win the Daytona 500, I'm not going to look back on my career with great disappointment, but it would confirm some things. It would mean some things to me, personally."

This is race one of 36. Is every race an adventure for you?

"Every lap is an adventure. My view on the world is that I live and make my living one corner at a time, one straightaway at a time. When I approach the Daytona 500, I'm not thinking about 500 miles, I'm thinking about one-quarter mile at a time. So to me, I don't look at a race as a race, I look at a race as thousands of little races. Every corner is an adventure, every straightaway is an adventure. Every time I get in the car it's a new beginning. I probably don't have -- I don't want to say the enthusiasm -- but I probably don't have the excitement level that some of the other drivers have that are new to the Cup Series level, but I don't have the downs, either. I think that maturity has taught me this isn't a season-per-season event. I don't view it like that. I'm racing a career, I'm not racing years. This is a new year but it's a continuation from last year."

-source: rcr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Richard Childress Racing