This Week's Caterpillar Chevrolet at New Hampshire Motor Speedway ... Jeff Burton will pilot Chassis No. 319 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This is a brand new No. 31 racer that will be put through its first ...
This Week's Caterpillar Chevrolet at New Hampshire Motor Speedway ... Jeff Burton will pilot Chassis No. 319 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This is a brand new No. 31 racer that will be put through its first paces of competition in this weekend's Sylvania 300.
Chase it ... Burton makes his fourth appearance in NASCAR's playoff format since its inception in 2004. The South Boston, Va., native has earned five top-five and 13 top-10 finishes in the season's opening 26 events. Even though he's seeded 10th heading into this weekend's opening round of the Chase for the NASCAR Cup at NHMS, the veteran driver is tied for eighth with Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and teammate Clint Bowyer. The 2010 Chase contender is 20 points out of fifth, 30 out of third and 60 markers behind newly-appointed point leader Denny Hamlin.
All three RCR Sprint Cup teams made the Chase this year. What does that say about the organization? "It's great for us. This is the third year we have put all three in. And, the one year that we didn't have all three in was the year that Clint was a rookie and that was a brand new team. One of the cool things about RCR is that we are the most consistent running team as far as all the teams running close together. That's good when we are running well. Last year, it wasn't so good because we all ran badly, but it's a clear sign that our current program works in the way that we share information. We can always be better at that, but it's pretty good the way we all run similar because we can learn from each other. When a company is doing things right, all of the teams will run similar to each other. That's something that's really good because it helps us become better race car drivers. I can push Kevin (Harvick, driver No. 29 Chevrolet), and Kevin can push me, if we are similar running cars."
What are the uncertainties that come to mind about the Chase based upon what you saw in the first 26 races? "We have to step it up. I think there are looming questions. Who is going to be able to go fast enough? Who consistently is going to be able to go fast? Who's going to step it up? What team is going to falter? We've seen, especially with Roush Fenway Racing and with Stewart Haas Racing, that they've stepped it up right here at the right time. Can they continue that? Who is next to step it up? It's go time. And, what teams are going to do it over the next 10 weeks? That's a question none of us know. I'll tell you that the 12 drivers in the Chase will tell you that it's them-they're the one that is going to step it up. I think all 12 of the drivers can make a valid argument that they are the one that can step it up. Every team is going to have problems and every team is going to have to deal with adversity. But, who deals with it best? Who has to deal with the most adversity? Who goes the fastest? Those are the questions that everybody is wondering. It is not something that I spent a lot of time on because I know that all I can do is control us. I can't control what the (No.) 48 does. The only thing I can do is try to make them respond to what we are doing. The only way we can do that is to outrun them."
Will you do anything differently for the Chase? Is there anything that you're structuring different at home? "First of all, this is the most fun 10 weeks of the year. This is what you live for. Every time I get in the Chase, I tell myself I waited my whole life to be in this position, so that's a hell of a cool thing. We tend to get caught up in the pressure of it, but man, we're playing a game and it's supposed to be fun. My deal is that I'm going to go race as hard as I know how to race. I'm going to ask my team to work as hard as they know how to work. We're going to work together and try to defeat problems, but we're going to have fun at it. It's going to be intense. When you waited your whole life for something and it's in front of you, it's going to be intense, full of emotion, and it should be. There is going to be disappointment. There is going to be happiness. I can't really say I've changed a lot other than my family knows that it's go time. Racing is going to come first here for the next few months. My team members understand if we have to build cars in a week-and-a-half, we're going to build a car in a week-and-a-half. Whatever we have to do, we're going to do to. I can't really say that I've changed a whole lot. We ask that of everybody every week."