Talladega: Burton - Friday media visit

JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Talladega Superspeedway and discussed racing at Talladega, pit road incident at Texas last week and other topics. TALK ABOUT YOUR OUTLOOK HERE AT TALLADEGA AND BEING...

JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Talladega Superspeedway and discussed racing at Talladega, pit road incident at Texas last week and other topics.


"We ran several combinations, but I don't think we ever had this combination in our car but it's clear that I believe that this race will look to be like most Talladega races and I don't expect it to be a whole lot different. All the cars that want to be in the pack, will be in the pack. And you know, avoiding the big wreck will be a factor and being at the right place at the right time. Even though we have spoilers on the cars this week I don't anticipate it being a whole lot different than a typical Talladega race."

IS IT ALWAYS IN THE BACK OF YOUR MIND WHEN YOU COME TO TALLADEGA AS A DRIVER THAT YOUR CAR CAN GO AIRBORNE HERE AT ANYTIME, AND SECOND ARE YOU HAPPY WITH WHAT NASCAR IS TRYIN TO DO TO PREVENT THAT? "It's in the front of your mind I think (laughs). NASCAR has put a lot of effort into the safety of these cars and we can debate whether the COT is...you know, some people like this and like that. What is not debatable is the fact that these cars are a lot safer than they have ever been. NASCAR has put a tremendous amount of effort into making these cars the safest cars in the world and they have become the leader in safety innovations. So definitely the cars getting upside down was a bad thing and I think it caught them by surprise because they had put a lot of work into it and they put more work yet into it trying to make it even better and I am confident that they have done the things that they know to do. Will they be better, smarter three years from now? You know, I hope so because if we are not then we are not doing a very good job. I don't know whether they are going to get on their roofs or not. I hope they don't but I feel very confident that they have tried real hard to try to prevent it from happening."

ABOUT HAVING AN ISSUE TRYING TO COME ON TO PIT ROAD LAST WEEK AT TEXAS AND IF YOU HAVE TALKED TO NASCAR ABOUT THAT "The first thing I did is I went home and watched it. So I could see it from their perspective because my perspective is my perspective and that is different from an official's perspective or a fan's perspective. I understand why the call was made, but I still disagree with the call. I think from their perspective I didn't get on pit road quick enough which allowed the 24 to be next to me which put me in a position where I couldn't get on pit road. My perspective is that the rule says that I have to commit before the commitment line and I tried to commit before the commitment line and I couldn't because there was a car there. So it's one of those things to where as long as you have raced you think you have seen it all and you just never have.

"There is always something that is going to happen. The reason it happened is because we made the call too late to pit. We were going to stay out, then we said "pit. And in that amount of time the 24 pulled next to me and I couldn't get on pit road so NASCAR's take is that you guys waited too long and you let the 24 get into position and if you had made your decision a little earlier, then he couldn't have been there. Our take is that it doesn't matter when we make the decision; we should be allowed the opportunity to get on pit road and shouldn't have been blocked off of pit road because we made a late decision. I see both sides.......I still think I'm right. I still think that no matter who the leader is, or who the fifth place car is or who the tenth place car is, that the car behind him should not be able to pull next to him at any point. He should be able to pull right up to his bumper. That is my take of it and I understand their side of it and I see both sides of it but it is what it is. I am not mad about it and it didn't prevent us from having a chance to win the race. It could have but it didn't. So ultimately it was a learning experience for all of us I think. And when nobody got hurt or injured by not having a chance to win the race, then that is okay to learn from it. We had discussions about it and we have different opinions about it but they have the whistle and their call is final and I respect that and that is how it has to be. But I still believe the call wasn't right. No, they aren't going to give us our position back at this point. There is no change in the process but I do think it's going to make them think and the competitors think. Because other people see those things happen too. And again, I see their side of it and I don't think their side is crazy. I think they have a valid point. We put ourselves in the position by making the call late, to have this thing happen to us. You know, it's an interesting situation."

ABOUT WHETHER THIS RACE WILL BE LIKE THE LAST TALLADEGA AND GUYS WILL WAIT TILL THE LAST 50 LAPS TO MAKE A MOVE BECAUSE THEY ARE AFRAID OF FLIPPING "I think that driving a race car is a balance between aggression and patience. And when you are at a race track where the race is 500 miles long and the race track has a reputation for having big wrecks and you decide with 250 miles to go that it might not be in your best interest to be in the middle of a big wreck........that may be just doing due diligence. I've quite trying to figure it out. When we have come here before and gone three and four wide the entire race, and we have come here and gone single file..........and the last race here wasn't the first time it ever happened. It received all the attention because it was led up to by a rule change. And so everybody said a tree fell in the woods so then this happened and that had to be the reason. And the reality of it is that we have seen that same race here before and who knows what kind of race we are going to see. A lot of it depends on how comfortable the drivers feel in the car. When you feel like if you make a move here and if doesn't work and you are going to lose 30 spots, then you tend to not want to make a move. If you feel like you are going to make a move and maybe only lose about six or seven spots then you will be willing to make that move. I think a lot of that depends on how we think the cars are once we get out there with this combination. But I wouldn't dare try to predict what kind of race we are going to see on Sunday other than to say that I would be shocked if at the end of it that it wasn't crazy."

LOOKS LIKE THE SIZE OF THE RESTRICTOR PLATE WILL DEPEND ON HOW PRACTICE GOES TODAY. IS THAT A CONCERN ABOUT THE EFFECT OF THE HANDLING OF YOUR CAR OR DOES IT MATTER? "I would just as soon we line up and race on Sunday and not practice today. I think it would be more fun. I think the teams are prepared enough. Whatever NASCAR throws at us the team's can adapt to it, the drivers will adapt to it really quickly so I don't have any concern. They could pop up Sunday morning and say, 'here is the plate'. It would affect us and would change what we are doing but I think the teams and the drivers are advanced enough to adapt to it pretty quickly."

MARK MARTIN SAID LAST WEEK THAT YOU HAD VOLUNTEERED TO BE HIS AGENT "I didn't volunteer. There is a commission involved."

BUT YOU HAD SAID YOU WOULD SERVE AS HIS AGENT "Okay that sounds a little better."

AND THAT YOU HAD SOME PRETTY OFF THE WALL IDEAS ABOUT WHAT HE SHOULD DO IN 2012 "You get Mark Martin to give me permission to talk publicly about that and until then I can't do it. I'm an agent and I have dignity and have to do things the right way. I have a code of ethics."

-source: gm racing

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Mark Martin