This Week's Caterpillar Chevrolet at Talladega Superspeedway ... Jeff Burton will race Chassis No. 240 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable in this weekend's Aaron's 499. This No. 31 racer served as a back-up car for...
This Week's Caterpillar Chevrolet at Talladega Superspeedway ... Jeff Burton will race Chassis No. 240 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable in this weekend's Aaron's 499. This No. 31 racer served as a back-up car for all four restrictor plate races last season before being put through competition in this year's Daytona 500 where the South Boston, Va., native piloted the Caterpillar Chevy to an 11th-place finish.
Unfinished Business ... In 32 Sprint Cup Series starts at Talladega, Burton owns four top-five and 13 top-10 finishes and has led 76 laps of competition. Although he has yet to visit Victory Lane at the storied race track, his best finish of third came in October 2001.
Loopy at 'Dega ... .The 21-time Sprint Cup Series race winner is the series' best green-flag passer. Over the past 10 races at the larger-than-life oval, Burton has made 3,822 passes under green-flag conditions, 358 more passes than Martin Truex Jr. in second place. At the same time, the 42-year-old driver leads all drivers as the sport's best quality passer. Of his 3,822 passes, 2,566 were made while running in the top 15.
And Then There Were Two ... Burton and Greg Biffle are the only two drivers who have completed all the laps contested thus far this season.
11 Years Later ... Burton has led at five different tracks for a total of 199 laps just eight races into the 2010 season. The last time the veteran driver has led more than what he's been able to accomplish so far this season was in 1999. In that year, he also led at five different race tracks in the season's first eight races but held the top spot for a total of 529 laps.
Over the First Eight ... In the season's first eight events, Burton has earned one top-five and two top-10 finishes. He has recorded a 17.4 starting average coupled with a 14th-place finishing average and has spent 72.4 percent of the time running in the top 15 (2,016 of 2,786).
Rearview Mirror ... A fast race car, coupled with excellent pit calls, helped Burton and the Cat Racing team overcome a commitment line violation just past the 100-lap mark and be in contention for the win the in the rain-delayed Samsung Mobile 500 last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, but a tight-handling condition and a scrape with the wall with less than 10 laps to relegated them to a 12th-place finish.
In your last four visits to Talladega Superspeedway, you were able to stay out of trouble and finish in the top 12. Talk about trying to avoid the incidents to come home with a solid finish.
"Anytime you leave Talladega in the top 10, you are happy. At the same time, you get disappointed because you could have won, done this or done that, but everyone in the field says the same thing. To be quite honest, Talladega is one of the race tracks where truly anyone can win. But, when you can leave Talladega with a top 10, you need to be happy with your finish and move on."
What are your thoughts on racing the spoiler in this weekend's 499 miler?
"It's going to be interesting to see how it all plays out. When we tested with the spoiler last month, we practiced with a few cars around us, but we never had a 43-car pack. That changes things a great deal. I've said this all along but with Talladega being as big as it is, there's not much NASCAR can do to prevent the wrecks. You're always going to have the cars running close together and in one big pack, no matter what package we run. So, I don't see how having a spoiler is going to be different than any other race we have had there.
What is it like racing at Talladega Superspeedway?
"I'm always nervous to run at Talladega. You have to go into that race thinking that there is going to be a multi-car incident and how to miss it. To me, it's a stressful Sunday morning and once the race gets going, I calm down. But, as the laps start winding down, the intensity level just goes through the roof. It's unbelievable how you can feel it there more than any other race track. At every other race track, if you're racing for the lead, you might be racing with maybe two or three other guys. At Talladega, you're contending with 30 drivers. When the intensity level increases for 30 people versus three, it changes the way you race."
Where do you want to be on the last lap?
"Talladega has the potential of being a 20-car pack with 23 others in the garage or the potential to be a 35-car pack. The bigger the pack, the more danger you are in being in the front. If something happens with three to go and the first four cars break away, then being in the front is not as dangerous. Being in the front is dangerous when the guys in front can get momentum and come get you."