Pocono: Burton - Friday media visit

JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET met with members of the media at Pocono Raceway and discussed last week's incident with Kyle Busch, the new spoiler at Pocono, testing at Watkins Glen and other topics. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT...

JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET met with members of the media at Pocono Raceway and discussed last week's incident with Kyle Busch, the new spoiler at Pocono, testing at Watkins Glen and other topics.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT COMING BACK TO POCONO?: "This is a real fun race track. It's a real challenge because every corner is so different from the next and it's just a lot of fun. We have long straight-aways and a good corner in turn one. To me, it's just a real challenging race track and it's a fun race track to come race on. We're hoping for a good weekend. I think if we keep running the way we've been running, but obviously want to finish a little better."

DOES THE ADDITION OF THE SPOILER AFFECT CAR CONTROL AND HOW WILL THE SPOILER AFFECT THE RACING AT POCONO?: "I don't think that, honestly, we've seen some people spin out, but we saw people spin out before the spoiler. I really haven't seen that big of a difference to be perfectly honest. One thing I have noticed is that with the wing, you had less cars completely spin out. They would kind of do like the trucks where they would get three-quarters of the way around and stop. I think our cars did that and our cars come all the way around with the spoiler. I don't think they get any looser. They may finish the spin where sometimes before they would stop the spin kind of like the truck. There's a lot more drag with the spoiler. You could see an element of drafting down the straight-aways because the straightaway is so long, you could see cars get a tow down the straights. It will be interesting to see. It won't be like Daytona or Talladega by any means, but I think you could get a little bit of a tow down this long front straight-away."

WHAT IS YOUR PERSPECTIVE ON THE INCIDENT WITH KYLE BUSCH AND HAVE YOU SPOKE WITH HIM?: "We haven't talked, not because I'm avoiding him or I think he's avoiding me. I was at Watkins Glen doing a tire test for Goodyear the last two days and just honestly been really busy. I don't mind sitting down and talking to Kyle (Busch). I told you guys two weeks ago, I like racing with Kyle and I don't have any personal problem with Kyle, he's aggressive. Last week, my perspective was exactly what is was that week. Kyle tried to make it three-wide and got in my left rear. He didn't mean to do it, he didn't set out and say that he was going to cut the left rear tire of the 31 car. He just did what he thought he needed to do to pick up a position. I have respect for that. He made a mistake and I paid the price for it. My perspective is exactly what it was last week. Obviously, I was a lot madder about it last week than I am today. I'm not one of those people that believe that people are out to get me or that Kyle set out to go ruin my night. He didn't mean to get into me. He was being aggressive and made a mistake. I was mad because we've had great race cars, been in position to win a lot of races and had a lot of top-fives with not a lot to show for it. It's just getting frustrating. When you see a guy be as aggressive as he is and get into somebody then you tend to have little tolerance for it. It's nothing personal. Like I told you all two weeks ago, I like racing with Kyle and I don't have any problems with Kyle. We won't have any problems moving forward. He knows exactly how I feel and we can talk about it. Honestly, there's not a whole lot to talk about."

WILL YOU RACE KYLE BUSCH ANY DIFFERENTLY?: "I won't race him (Kyle Busch) any different and I don't think he'll race me any differently. I think that we're both professionals. Kyle's consistent and I think I'm consistent. I'm coming to Pocono to race Pocono, I'm not coming to Pocono to race Kyle. I'm not interested in a weekly confrontation. I don't like them. I don't like yearly confrontations much less weekly. I'm here to race Pocono and go out and win this race and that is what he's here to do too. I understand it was heated. To his credit, he handled that pretty well. It's hard when somebody is in your face, he handled it well, his crew handled it well. It's a new week."

IS IT DIFFICULT TO REMAIN PATIENT EACH WEEK WHEN YOU ARE NOT RUNNING AS WELL AS YOU ANTICIPATE?: "You have to be sure that you race the way you know how to race. I try to learn and try to be better, but I'm not going to change my overall philosophy about driving this car and what we need to do to be successful. Like I told you guys many times, we all have situations that we put ourselves in. I know I'm not crying victim. I feel like we've participated in our successes and we've participated in our failures. It is frustrating for sure. There's a lot of people that would love to be in the situation we're in. There are a lot of people in front of us in points that would love to be in the situation we're in. We have fast race cars, we have a really strong team, we have good leadership. We have a lot of things going for us. We do have to be better, but we can't let our failures override our mindset and override what it is we need to do to be better and that's what our focus is on really is just being better."

WERE YOU SURPRISED YOU REACTED AS YOU DID TOWARD KYLE BUSCH?: "I was just pissed off, man. I didn't go looking for a fight, I was just pissed off. I had 15 laps or whatever it was to get calmed down and I didn't. I felt like I needed to handle it and address it right then. I was just mad and it's not more complicated than that."

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU FELT THAT MAD IN A RACE CAR?: "Here's the thing and this is an emotional sport. I've been that mad plenty of times. Particularly when you get that mad, you have time to get over it before the race is over. In that case, I didn't. I don't know, I don't remember the last time, but that's not the maddest I've ever been. I've heard people say, 'That's the maddest I've ever seen him.' That's not the maddest I've ever been, I can guarantee you that. By the way, I wasn't mad Monday morning when I woke up. It was over. 10 years ago, I would have still been mad today. What I've learned is that this is an emotional sport and everybody tries hard. Kyle (Busch) didn't set out to cut my left rear tire, he set out to go try to win the race. That's what he's supposed to do. All I was asking for was just a little more respect."

DID CLINT BOWYER HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE THREE-WIDE SITUATION?: "I've watched the tape twice and I haven't, you know, put it in slow motion or slow it down and look at it. I look at it from a racer's perspective. And I don't want to keep reliving this. I told Christine this morning, I've got a 14-year old daughter, I have all the drama I need. I don't need a whole lot more. The deal with Clint (Bowyer) is that Clint did get three-wide, but what happened was that Kyle (Busch) tried to get in between me and the guy that was in front of him. He tried to do the same thing that almost won him the All-Star race last year. If you go back and think about it, he popped in the middle and made it three-wide and almost won the All-Star race last year by making that move. That's what he tried to do this time and when his splitter caught my left rear tire, it slowed his momentum and then that's when the 33 (Bowyer) got inside. That' the way it happened. I really don't want to keep reliving it. It is what it is, it's over and we just need to go racing."

WILL THE GREEN-WHITE-CHECKERED RULE BE MORE IMPACTFUL AT POCONO BECAUSE OF THE SIZE OF THE RACE TRACK?: "A lot of it depends on the tires. Typically you have a lot of fall off on time with tires here. When you really get into fuel mileage issues is when people don't want to put tires on. Fuel mileage will be an issue here. It won't surprise me to pit under green, it won't surprise me to be in the situation where we have to pay attention to fuel. The longer the races are, the bigger the tracks are -- the more problems you have with the green-white-checkered scenario. You don't really have fuel mileage issues at Richmond with green-white-checkered because you need tires. The bigger race tracks, the advantage to new tires becomes less and less and less and that means that there's less opportunity to need to be on pit road and that means that there's more opportunity to have less fuel. Therefore it just keeps compounding itself. It could be an issue."

IS THERE ANY VALUE TO SHOWING THE GARAGE THAT YOU WILL GET IN THEIR FACE IF SOMETHING BOTHERS YOU?: "Not everything I do is calculated. Sometimes, I've been just like everybody in the room, I make mistakes and I do things that are right too. I didn't exactly go over there after sitting down and having a thoughtful conversation about the right way to handle that situation. A lot of that or most of that was emotion. Whether that's productive or not, can always be debated. At the time, I didn't really care if it was productive or not. That's a little out of my character, but that's part of having a passion for the sport and having a passion to succeed. I work hard at what I do. I don't play golf on Tuesdays, I work. I put a lot of time into what I do. I try real hard. I consider myself to be a guy that never quits and I take a lot of pride in that. It means a lot to me to be successful at this level is what my professional life is all about. It's about nothing more than that. I'm going to be respected for sure, but I'm here for a reason and it's not to be part of a game, it's to win and I think this is my best shot to ever win a championship and I really believe that.

"This means a great deal to me and because of that and because of my passion for it, every now and then, I'm going to behave in a way I probably shouldn't. I crossed the line a little bit last week, but I don't regret it. I did cross the line a little bit last week and could have been more productive by having a conversation on Monday rather than Sunday night."

HAVE YOU BEEN MAKING BIG OR SMALL CHANGES TO YOUR GOOD RACE CARS THIS YEAR DURING THE RACES?: "We took more big swings Sunday than we typically do. We were further off when the race started than we thought we were going to be. We thought we were in really good shape the way we ended in practice and we kind of got surprised. One thing we learned with this car is when you make big swings, you typically swing the wrong way. You're doing something for a reason and when out of desperation you go make a big change, you typically get a result that's not positive. We try to finesse our way into learning what our car needs and then once we learn that, we might make a big swing in the direction of the positives that have been built based on the race. That's kind of the way we try to do it. We don't like to make big swings. When you see us making big swings, it's because we're in major trouble. Sunday, we weren't in the race for half of the race. I say we weren't in the race, we were running well, but we were running eighth, sixth to 11th, we were fast on restarts. Passed a lot of people on restarts and then we would back up and about three-eighths of the way through the race, every change we made the car got better, car got better, car got better and that's what this group has just done an incredible job of is during a race making changes and making the car better. Sunday was a good example of that."

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE CHANGES AT WATKINS GLEN?: "I thought it was really cool. They did a really nice job. The only changes that will really make a difference in the racing is off that long right-hander, everyone calls it something different, but off turn five, that long right-hander, the exit of that has been changed quite a bit. Because we had those two big wrecks there last year, one of which I was in, so I was glad to see them change that. They did a really nice job. They installed some SAFER Barriers, they spent a lot of money, spent a ton of money and a ton of effort trying to make the racing safer. They should be applauded for that. That doesn't put a single person in the grandstand, they don't get a dime back for that investment and all those changes are made for one reason and that was safety. I think they made improvements for sure. The other thing they did was take that inner loop, they took those gravel traps out and that will have an impact on the race because that's less cautions. Every race you're having to pull people out of that thing and this year you're not going to have that so that's potential for less cautions, which impacts the race because of fuel mileage. There everybody tries to guess how many caution laps there's going to be and then work the race backwards. People try to get on pit road early so that's going to have a pretty major impact on the way the race is run, I think."

-source: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kyle Busch
Teams CIP