Burton, Cat Team Score Runner-Up Finish at the Monster Mile Jeff Burton and the Cat Racing team overcame their 27th-starting position to score a runner-up finish in Round Two of the Chase for the Sprint Cup at Dover International Speedway on ...
Burton, Cat Team Score Runner-Up Finish at the Monster Mile
Jeff Burton and the Cat Racing team overcame their 27th-starting position to score a runner-up finish in Round Two of the Chase for the Sprint Cup at Dover International Speedway on Sunday, matching their best finish so far in the 2010 season.
The rock solid effort was the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing team's sixth top-five and 14th top-10 finish this season and, in the process, moved up two spots, to seventh, in the championship point standings with eight races remaining in the season. Burton and Company gained 32 points on leader Denny Hamlin and now sit 80 markers outside of the top spot.
Despite registering a speed good enough to line them up on the outside of row 14 in Friday's time trial session, the Todd Berrier-led team let their practice speeds in Saturday's dual practice sessions do the talking. Consistent lap times coupled with a good-handling Caterpillar Chevrolet would set the tone for Sunday's 400-lap showdown.
After taking the green flag, Burton never raced lower than his 27th-place starting position and steadily knocked off position after position on the track. He worked his way into the top 20 at lap 50 before cracking the top 15 at lap 146 on the strength of proper adjustments to the black and yellow machine and spot-on pit stops.
The power of Burton's RCR entry didn't let him stop there.
Long green-flag runs consumed the majority of the second half of the 400 miler that included only two caution periods. The over-the-wall crew aided Burton's on-track position when a lightning-fast stop netted the veteran driver three spots, to eighth, for the lap-193 restart.
A quiet and focused driver maintained his rhythm and quietly ran down the frontrunners, moving into the top five just 16 laps later. He moved into fourth at lap 296, third at lap 334 and into second at lap 345.
The last scheduled pit stop occurred on lap 362, under green-flag conditions, and, soon after, Burton set his sights on eventual winner Jimmie Johnson. While the South Boston, Va., native ran competitive lap times over the remaining laps, he couldn't reel Johnson in and settled for a runner-up finish.
Johnson took the checkers and crossed the line 2.637 seconds ahead of Burton. Joey Logano, Kurt Busch and Carl Edwards rounded out the top-five finishers.
RCR teammates Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer finished 15th and 25th, respectively.
Next weekend, Burton and the No. 31 Caterpillar team travel to Kansas City for Round Three of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
JEFF BURTON: "Well, we thought we had a really good Caterpillar Chevrolet coming into the race today. We took off and struggled a little bit for rear grip and just kept working all day to get the grip level right. I thought the track changed a lot. My guys did a great job of adjusting to the track and getting the car better at the right time. At about halfway and through the next to the last run, my car just got really happy and took off. We then became a contender. I'm just proud of the Cat Racing team for being right at the right time. We were in position (to win) with that restart. What won the race for Jimmie (Johnson) wasn't the start of the restart, but about 15 laps into the next to the last run. He cleared (Joey) Logano and got really fast. He squirted away from me pretty hard and ran the (No.) 18 down and then we started running them down. But, he was just a little quicker than we were today".