This Week's Caterpillar Chevrolet at Infineon Raceway ... Jeff Burton will race chassis No. 245 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. Built new in 2009 as a No. 07 racer, this machine was put through two short track ...
This Week's Caterpillar Chevrolet at Infineon Raceway ... Jeff Burton will race chassis No. 245 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. Built new in 2009 as a No. 07 racer, this machine was put through two short track tests and then shelved before being converted to a road course No. 31 racer. Sunday's 110-lap event will put the first time this RCR entry will be put through competition.
National Fatherhood Recognition ... Burton is one of three drivers who will receive the annual Fatherhood Award from the National Fatherhood Initiative on Father's Day as part of the pre-race activities at Infineon Raceway. The NFI's mission is to improve the well-being of children by increasing the proportion of children growing up with involved, responsible and committed fathers.
June is for Birthdays ... Four members of the Cat Racing team will celebrate birthdays in June. Gary Frost, mechanic on the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevy, turned 39 on June 9, rear-tire changer Aaron Smith will turn 32 on June 27, driver Jeff Burton will turn 43 on June 29, while rear-tire carrier Aaron Schields will celebrate his 29th birthday on June 30.
You finished 34th in last year's race at Infineon. Is that a stat where you ran better than where you finished?
"We ran well at Infineon last year but it was a race where everything went wrong. We got spun out twice and worked our way back into the top 10 before we all got bunched up for a restart. When I was coming to take the white flag, a driver made it four wide, getting into turn 11 and ended up spinning again. We ran a lot better than where we finished and that's what we have to focus on."
A number of drivers call Infineon Raceway a technical track. Do you think this is true?
"Infineon Raceway is really small. If you look at our cars that weight as much as they do, and make as much power as they do, Infineon is a really, really small race track - not in length, but in the way the corners are built. When people talk about it being technical, it's about being precise. And, when you're not precise and you don't hit your marks exactly, you lose a lot of time. The reality of it is almost every race track is technical. Some are more technical than others. The restarts at Infineon are kind of crazy. But, I will tell you that I think the double-file restarts make the restarts more tame there. It puts people going up the hill more at a constant speed. For us, in particular, we've run well on the road courses, but our finishes have been horrible. We have to find a way to have much better finishes at Infineon, starting this weekend. That's something that we've certainly been thinking about since last year. We feel really good going there and that we'll have a good shot."
Are there certain places at Infineon where you can pass other cars?
"The thing you have to remember is that while you're trying to pass the guy in front of you, the guy behind you is trying to pass you. And, every place that you're trying to make a pass on someone, it's the same place that someone is trying to make a pass on you. That's why there are a lot of wrecks there. There are specific points on the track that work the best so everyone is aggressive during those points."
Do you enjoy road course racing?
"I love road course racing. I think it's a blast. It breaks up the year and gives us something different than what we normally do. I'm confident in how we ran there in the past, but we don't have a lot of finishes to show for it. A lot of that falls on my shoulders. The two road course races are going to be very important to the Chase. Those are the types of race tracks that have huge potential pitfalls. You can easily finish 43rd there by having a problem or getting off course. It's a place where you can lose a lot of ground. On the other hand, it's a place where you can make up a lot of ground. If you can run up front, you have a chance of winning and potentially could make up some ground in the points."