Phoenix: Jeff Burton post-race interview

Jeff Burton post-race press conference Phoenix International Raceway Jeff Burton -- ...

Jeff Burton post-race press conference
Phoenix International Raceway

Jeff Burton -- #31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet
3rd position / started 20th

Well, we had a good car. We kind of, based on Friday's practice, knew that we were going to be good in the dark. We kind of had to suffer through the daylight. We kept ourselves in position really well. And once the track did cool down and nighttime came, the car got a whole lot better like we thought it would. It just wasn't quite good enough to be up there in the sun. So, we restarted 12th or 13th and had to come back up to third, which didn't give us much of a chance to win. I'm really proud of my guys. Last week and this week were really when we've gotten what we deserved. That's our fault and nobody else's, but I'm really proud of everybody keeping their heads up and not giving up and coming here and focusing. Like I said, last week and this week, we got what we deserved. And those are the first two weeks we did that.

HOW BAD WERE THE CONDITIONS ON THE RACE TRACK?

Oh, you know, I didn't feel any wind. We didn't have any problems with the wind. We struggled a little bit with our handling. We were a little bit too loose at the end, but we were fast. We drove up and got to third but we were just a little bit too loose. When I got out of the car I realized it was windy. I didn't realize it until then.

SETTING SUN A CONSIDERATION

As far as visibility? No issue whatsoever. All the talk about the sun setting and all the problems, there was absolutely zero problems. I never had the sun in my eyes and never felt like my visibility was jeapordized at all. Actually, the sun is further-maybe because it is this time of year-the sun is further this way than it is when we come in the fall. In the fall it seems like it sets a little bit closer to turn 1 and over here it seemed like it set near the straightaway and that was a help. Different times of year. But it really wasn't an issue at all.

DID YOU THINK THAT IF A CAUTION CAME IN THE LAST LAPS, YOU'D BE ABLE TO TAKE THE LEAD?

It could have been interesting. Those top three cars I think were pretty much equal. We just had too far to make up. I knew I wasn't going to catch. I got far enough back ahead of the the #8 car where I knew he couldn't make a run back on me. I just laid down a little bit because I knew I wasn't going to catch him. Because to run on the edge, for those last two laps with nothing to gain-actually the last 15 laps-it wouldn't have done me any good. I could see I wasn't catching him. I could see I was running the same speed but I wasn't catching him. So I just kind of laid down and finished the race. But had the caution come out, I don't know what we would have done as far as pitting. Who the hell knows. I think we would have had to pit. It would have been interesting.

DID YOU SEE WALTRIP HITTING THE WALL?

Michael does that a lot. He runs that high line. He's really really good about that. If it's out there, he can find it. From what I saw, he was the highest on the race track for sure and that's what you had to do. I just can't tell you how competitive the racing is today. If you're going to run fast and in the front, you've got to run every lap on the edge. Unless you're just like the #16 was last week. He didn't have to run his car on the edge last week because it was just so much faster. I just can't tell you how competitive. It's unbelievable. It probably doesn't look any more competitive than it was six years ago, but it is unbelievably competitive. It's amazing how fast you have to run to run in the top 5.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE SMALLER SPOILER?

You know, if we would have shown up here and we would have just come here and raced, and told me we had a shorter spoiler on it, I wouldn't have known it. It's gotten to the point now where we've run it enough, we've tested it enough where we don't think about the spoiler anymore. It's a conversation for the media and it's something to talk about but we don't, I don't think about it. I don't go to any race track thinking that, "Well, we've got less spoiler than we did last year." We're onto new setups or whatever, based on the short spoiler and the new tires. We're not thinking it's different. I'm serious. I wouldn't have known a thing about it. We're only a couple of tenths off qualifying than we were last year. I just don't think it had much impact on today's race at all.

HOW PHYSICALLY DEMANDING WAS THE RACE TONIGHT?

It wasn't bad. The temperature came way down. It wasn't a really physically demanding race. It's pretty normal. It is extremely competitive and you've got to be on the wheel every lap. It ain't anymore physically demanding than it's ever been.

-gm racing-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton