JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Daytona International Speedway and discussed Saturday night's race, repaving of Daytona, points system and other topics. TALK ABOUT GETTING READY FOR SATURDAY NIGHT'S ...
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Daytona International Speedway and discussed Saturday night's race, repaving of Daytona, points system and other topics.
TALK ABOUT GETTING READY FOR SATURDAY NIGHT'S RACE: "Well, with this restrictor plate, you are really going to be smokin' going into the corners here and it is going to be really hard to get your car to handle the way you want it to. That is really the focus today is to get the car handling like we need it to. If we do that, things will work out."
AFTER THE REPAVING OF DAYTONA, IS THE DRIVER GOING TO BE MUCH LESS OF AN ELEMENT IN FEBRUARY THAT YOU ARE NOW? "I think so. I think this race will look much more like Talladega than it does Daytona the first little while after they paved it. The interesting thing about the paving and the pavement technology has come a long way in the last few years.
You start looking at race tracks that have been paved with the new polymer-based pavement and they really haven't lost much speed. It will be interesting to see what happens with this race track after this track gets paved. They are going to smooth it out a lot which will help this race track tremendously. The grip is going to come way up and that is really going to affect the way you drive the cars and the way you have to set the race cars up. I anticipate the Daytona 500 looking much more like Talladega than it does Daytona. Some people like that and some people won't. It will be what it will be. I think most of the drivers like this race track slick and you really have to drive the cars. But I think the Talladega races are kind of fun to watch and fun to do too. So I don't think it is bad either way. It is certainly for the local economy. There are a lot of people that will be working down here because they are paving the facility and that is a good thing."
WILL THIS RACE SATURDAY NIGHT BE AS WILD AS TALLADEGA WAS IN THE SPRING OR IS THE HANDLING FACTORY GOING TO SEPARATE THAT OUT? "Typically what we see in this race and the same thing in the Daytona 500 is the thing kind of gets spread out a little bit, not a lot, but a little bit. Then you start getting those late cautions. You could run wide open just long enough to cause the next caution. So you get this series and cycle of cautions late in the race, then the wildness gets up there. That is what I could anticipate. I can't imagine this race not ending with a short run because I'm not sure we have had a race all year that had not ended on a short run in some form or fashion. Going into the race, that is what I think could happen. Long runs, some single file, some guys trying to make moves, other guys not, caution, caution, caution, caution at the end of the race. That is what I would think will happen."
SHOULD NASCAR DO SOMETHING TO MAKE THE REGULAR SEASON CHAMPIONSHIP LEADER MORE RELEVANT? "I don't know to be perfectly honest. I've seen the guys that have been leading the championship and done a good job in the old point structure get done and say 'Hey, we didn't get rewarded at all'. If this thing ended today, the leader right now has a point deficit to several people. So when you look at it like that, it makes you think 'Wow, what are we doing'. At the same time, there has been a cry for years about wins being more. I tell you guys all the time, you can't do one thing without it affecting something else. So when you make wins mean more than running for points, then that sets this cycle up. I'm not the one that is going to say it should be one way or the other. I just know the way it is and the way it is means you need to win races. It is in the stereotypical old-style points racing that we did 10 years and determined who the champion was, yes, I would say they do deserve it. But that's not the way we do it today. It is a tough call. I see the point and I understand why some people would say that. But it is not my call to make to be quite honest."
WITH THE 'HAVE AT IT BOYS', DOES THE LAST FEW WEEKS OF ON TRACK CONTACT ETC. LEAD YOU TO BELIEVE THAT THIS DAYTONA RACE WILL BE DIFFERENT THAN IT WAS AT THE DAYTONA 500? "I don't think so. I think the end of these races are really wild. Restrictor plate races, they are what they are. You're forced to do things you otherwise wouldn't do. I don't honestly see that getting any worse because I think that it is at such an aggressive level already that I don't know that it could get a lot worse. Like I said before, I'm not a fortune teller, but history says you are going to get cautions, everything is going to get doubled-up. It is going to get three wide. Action is going to get hot and heavy at the end of the race. I just think that is what it is going to be. I just think that is what you can expect. As far as the respect thing, I am the guy who caused the wreck at the end of the race last week. Some of it is hard racing. Some of it is a lack of respect. Some of it is just plain and simple hard racing. It is hard to distinguish the two. I think down here you can expect it to be wild. That is just how it is going to be."
AS FAR AS THE HEAT, MENTAL AND PHYSICAL ASPECT, YOU GUYS OBVIOUSLY HAVE TO BE FIT, BUT IS THERE ANY KIND OF MENTAL METHODS YOU CAN USE YOURSELF OR DO YOU THINK THAT OTHER USE IN THE HEAT OF THE SUMMER? "I think focus is important. Everybody prepares differently. I'm not going to talk in specifics about how I prepare. I prepare how I prepare and everybody does that differently. I think being focused and paying attention to what you are doing is real important. I think the more you are in to what you are doing. The more you are paying attention to what you are doing, the less you pay attention to the distractions. That is what the heat is, it is a potential distraction. Physically if you aren't prepared in May for July, you are in trouble. You know coming down here it is going to be hot, it is what it is. So the guys that are prepared and three months ago they know they are prepared and I think it is less of an issue for those guys. There are some guys that are nervous about the heat because they know they aren't as prepared as they need to be. I'm not one of those."
HOW IS YOUR SON HARRISON DOING RACING? "He is in Indiana. We race every week, all the time, everywhere. His Mom is the car owner, I'm the crew chief."
-source: gm racing