This Week in Ford Racing July 20, 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Jeff Burton, driver of the No. 99 Roush Racing Taurus, leads all active drivers with four NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series victories at New Hampshire International...
This Week in Ford Racing
July 20, 2004
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series
Jeff Burton, driver of the No. 99 Roush Racing Taurus, leads all active drivers with four NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series victories at New Hampshire International Speedway, which happens to be this site for this weekend's New England 300. Burton discussed the progress he and his team have made since the start of the season and his hopes for Sunday.
JEFF BURTON - No. 99 Roush Racing Ford Taurus
EVEN THOUGH THE FINISHES MIGHT NOT SHOW IT, YOU GUYS HAVE BEEN RUNNING PRETTY WELL OF LATE. DO YOU SEE SOME LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL?
"We've really been running well lately. We didn't run great, but ran well at Infineon and we ran well at Pocono and Michigan. We've really been doing a lot better and have been putting ourselves consistently in the top 10 and, in most cases, in the top seven. At Pocono we broke an engine late and last week we got in that big accident. At Daytona we had a problem at the wrong time and never got a caution to get caught back up, so those things are up against us right now. But if we keep running the way we're running, we'll be OK. Certainly Loudon is a place that I really like. We ran really well there in both races last year, even though we broke a motor in the second race. We ran really well in the first race and were third or fourth in the second race before the motor went, so we're looking forward to going to Loudon for sure based on the way we've been running. If we hadn't been running well, we wouldn't be looking forward to going. We ran well at Richmond, which is a track that's somewhat like New Hampshire, so, yeah, there is some light at the end of the tunnel."
YOU'VE BEEN RUNNING SOME DIFFERENT STUFF THAN EARLIER IN THE YEAR. HAS THAT COINCIDED WITH THIS TURNAROUND?
"Yeah, Bob Osborne has come on and done a really nice job. We've had to build some different stuff, and really we just got behind and couldn't find what it took to get going. It's no coincidence that the 6 car and the 99 car both all of a sudden started running well. That's no coincidence. There's a reason for that and we feel like we're headed in the right direction. We still have to keep working and we still have to make it better, but we're certainly pointed in the right direction."
LAST YEAR ALL THE TALK AROUND LOUDON WAS THE TRACK SURFACE AND WHETHER OR NOT IT WOULD HOLD UP, BUT IT WORKED OUT WELL.
"There were no race track issues at all last year and I think the track is in as good a shape as it has ever been. The new tire will be interesting - whether or not we'll wear tires out real quickly. That will be an issue, but the track should be in as good a shape as it's ever been and there should be no issues. We didn't have any problems last year and this tire will probably cause less problems than last year's tire."
WHEN YOU RETIRE A LONG TIME FROM NOW, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WILL LIKELY BE MENTIONED IS THAT YOU LED WIRE-TO-WIRE TO WIN AT LOUDON IN 2000. WHERE DOES THAT RANK AS FAR AS A HIGHLIGHT FOR YOU?
"To do that is pretty fascinating and it's neat to think about, but the thing I enjoy thinking about is how we did it. It was a really neat day for us because we almost didn't lead every lap because on some of those it was just by two or three inches. We started second and raced Bobby Labonte and got the lead and then late in the race he made a strong run at me. If I led the whole race for 300 laps, he ran second for 300 laps. It was just right there all day long and it was fun. It was really neat to get on the airplane going home that night and reflect on that a little bit. We normally don't get a chance to do that, but that deserves some reflection and deserves some time spent thinking about it because that was pretty special."