No Heartburn Results in Sixth-Place Effort for Burton and Team at the B Jeff Burton was part of an impressive weekend for the entire Richard Childress Racing organization where the No. 31 Prilosec OTC team qualified 10th for the annual...
No Heartburn Results in Sixth-Place Effort for Burton and Team at the B
Jeff Burton was part of an impressive weekend for the entire Richard Childress Racing organization where the No. 31 Prilosec OTC team qualified 10th for the annual spectacle at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, ran inside the top 10 for the majority of the Brickyard 400 and posted their 10th top-10 finish of the season when the veteran driver took the checkers in sixth.
The Todd Berrier-led team's third consecutive top-seven result helped them pad the difference between their seventh-place points position and the cut off spot for making this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup with six races remaining until the 12-man class is set. Burton and Company are 231 points to the good while only being listed 43 markers in arrears to cracking the top five in the championship point standings rundown.
One qualifying session and multiple practice sessions set the tone for a busy Friday and Saturday at the historic 2.5-mile race track. The No. 31 team placed sixth and 19th, respectively, in Friday's dual 60-minute sessions before formulating a set up for Saturday's time trial session that proved to be sporty when the South Boston, Va., native laid down the 10th-fastest lap. Performance picked up later in the afternoon when the RCR entry was scored atop the scoring pylon at the conclusion of the first practice session. They returned to the flat racing surface for the final time just 30 minutes later and backed up their speeds by finishing the session in second, giving them overall confidence heading into Sunday's 160-lap showdown.
Over 140,000 race fans filled the grandstands and battled warm temperatures when the green flag waved just past 1 p.m. local time. It didn't take long for the initial caution to be displayed when a multi-car incident broke out on the first lap. Shortly after returning to green-flag racing, Burton maintained his 10th-place starting position and cautiously rode around the hallowed ground until the competition caution waved at lap 15 because the water temperature in his lightning-themed Chevrolet was climbing.
While some teams used this slowdown as an opportunity to take on two tires and gain track position, Berrier went with four in addition to having the over-the-wall crew remove a piece of tape on the front grill to break the car's fever. The four-tire result placed Burton 16th on the lap-20 restart but, in the long run, the cards unfolded nicely for the No. 31 team when the 2006 Indianapolis pole sitter was scored in eighth just 22 laps later.
Four pit stops, which included either air pressure or chassis adjustments, and two caution periods consumed the next 100-plus laps that saw Burton tussle with grip issues, leading to a loose-handling Prilosec OTC Chevy. Despite having that problem, he was running competitive lap times and ran inside the top 10 for most of that sequence.
Debris forced NASCAR to display the yellow flag again at lap 137, with Burton running in the 10th position. With track position playing an important role, a two-tire pit stop gamble on the next circuit placed him sixth when the field was shown the green flag with 18 laps remaining.
Once again, the decision from atop the box paid dividends with Burton notching two positions before a three-car incident slowed them down for the final time on lap 145.
On the day's final restart, and with 11 laps remaining, Burton and his heartburn-relieving machine took the last green flag on the outside of row two where a slight hold up in the outer lane forced the 43-year-old driver to lose two positions in the early going. However, he was able to maintain the sixth spot over the closing laps and posted his second-best career finish at the Indianapolis facility.
Jamie McMurray kissed the bricks and captured Earnhardt-Childress Racing Engines first Brickyard 400 victory. RCR teammate Kevin Harvick led RCR's constringent to a runner-up finish, beating hard-charging Greg Biffle for the position. Fellow RCR stablemate Clint Bowyer finished fourth while Tony Stewart closed out the top-five finishers.
NASCAR's senior circuit returns to the Pocono Mountains next weekend for the second and final stop of the season at the tricky-triangular shaped race track.
"We didn't run as well as I thought we would. The Prilosec OTC Chevrolet fought grip all day and we didn't have the grip I thought we would have. It just wasn't as good as we thought, but we did okay. We had a solid day, although we need to do better. But, if that is going to be a bad day, that's good. My guys did a lot of work last night to my car a little better, so it wasn't that bad."