Kansas: Jeff Burton - NASCAR spotlight

A good move -- RCR's Jeff Burton working his way forward DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 6, 2004) -- Whether blessing or curse, change guarantees new experiences. For Jeff Burton (No. 30 America Online Chevrolet) and Richard Childress Racing, that...

A good move -- RCR's Jeff Burton working his way forward

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 6, 2004) -- Whether blessing or curse, change guarantees new experiences.

For Jeff Burton (No. 30 America Online Chevrolet) and Richard Childress Racing, that means rumbling toward the front. Both Burton and RCR's No. 30 team have struggled over the last several years, Burton in the final stretch of an otherwise stellar period with Roush Racing, and the No. 30 as RCR's newest team.

So when Burton ran in the top 10 for much of last week's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at Talladega, it appeared the latest sign that both entities -- driver and supporting cast -- have found their stride.

"Because of where we are as a new team together, there is a lot of blue sky," Burton said.

That vista could expand at Kansas Speedway, where Burton & Co. will continue their mutual learning curve in the Banquet 400. In the seven races since Burton joined RCR, he's produced four top-15 finishes and one top five -- easily the No. 30's best run this season. And at Talladega, Burton and RCR teammates Kevin Harvick (No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet), who finished second, and Robby Gordon (No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet), who finished ninth, proved that togetherness is a potent combination. "Teammates only work when everybody is giving something," Burton said. "When teammates are only taking, that's not effective. I need to be able to come into RCR and bring something. If I can do that, then I will have creditability and they'll want to work with our team. I actually feel like that's where we are at right now, but I have to continue to bring, so that this can work."

In his 11th premier-series season, Burton, 37, assumes a mentor's role to Harvick, a fourth-year driver, and Gordon, in his third full season with RCR. Burton also understands a long season's topsy-turvy tendencies and that with six events remaining, there's plenty of time to acclimate, improve -- and -- perhaps win.

"Long-term we are going to build something we'll feel really good about and hopes are real high," said Burton. "Short-term, it feels pretty good right now."

-nascar-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Kevin Harvick , Robby Gordon