JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 PRILOSEC OTC MONTE CARLO SS, 2ND IN POINTS, MET WITH MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA DURING THE WEEKLY TOP-10 BEHIND THE HAULER CHAT TO DISCUSS THE UPCOMING RACE AND THE SEASON SO FAR ON HIS RECENT PERFORMANCE AT TEXAS MOTOR...
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 PRILOSEC OTC MONTE CARLO SS, 2ND IN POINTS, MET WITH MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA DURING THE WEEKLY TOP-10 BEHIND THE HAULER CHAT TO DISCUSS THE UPCOMING RACE AND THE SEASON SO FAR
ON HIS RECENT PERFORMANCE AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY: "I think we finished sixth in the Spring race, which wasn't terrible. In the Fall race - it pretty well took away our Championship hopes. We come back here thinking about that a little bit and trying to get a little vengeance. It's a great race track and there's no reason that we shouldn't be able to compete. The reality is that we haven't been able to compete as well as we need to and hopefully we can turn that around this weekend."
ON THERE BEING NO REPEAT WINNERS AT TEXAS: "I don't have an answer for that. I do think that early in the deal, when the track was new, it seemed like it was a new track, three years in a row. That had some bearing on it, but I don't have an answer . I don't know why . I think it's cool there hasn't been a repeat winner. I think it would be even cooler if we could stop that this weekend. I don't even have a clue as to why that is."
IS THIS DIFFERENT FROM OTHER MILE-AND-A-HALF TRACKS? "I think it is different. How quickly your car changes direction here is different . that doesn't make it wrong . thank God it is different, that every mile-and-a-half isn't the same (although) they may look the same. I'm still a little surprised that the top groove hasn't continued to come in. We did see the top groove a little bit in the Spring for sure . there's no reason why the top groove shouldn't come in.
"One thing about fixing the bump. I think that may fix that (the top groove coming in). The higher you ran the bigger that bump was. So maybe that will help.
"It is different from other mile-and-a-half tracks, not necessarily in a bad way."
SHOULD NASCAR OPEN UP TESTING BY GIVING REAL TIRES? "It's a Catch 22. I thought a couple of years ago it was a great idea to offer more test dates with a combination of two-day tests and some one-day tests - I thought that was a great idea because we were going to Kentucky and all these places and why not test where we were going to race? I didn't see how it was going to cost the car owners any more money because we were going to go testing somewhere anyway. We did that and everybody complained about it and said there's too much testing. And now they're complaining there's not enough testing. So I don't know what the answer is. I do believe that with the Car of Tomorrow they should let up some tires so that we can do some more testing. I don't think it ought to be an unlimited number of supply - it should be you can get X number of tires for X number of weeks. Something like that. Because, for example, road course testing. We've never had an Impala SS on a road course. We don't have any tires to go run an Impala SS on a road course. There's some things like that that NASCAR needs to look hard at and at the same time all the car owners complain about how much money it costs to go racing and one way to limit that is (to limit) testing. It's a balance but I believe they do need to let up some tires to let us go testing at some places, especially with the Car of Tomorrow program going on. I think that would be in the sport's best interest."
ON MANY OF THE TRACKS BEING RE-PAVED. AT WHAT POINT DOES THE SPEED BECOME EXCESSIVE AND YOU HAVE TO START PUTTING RESTRICTOR PLATES ON FOR THESE TRACKS? "Re-paving is the worst thing you can do to a racetrack. The only time you should re-pave a racetrack is when you absolutely have to. It sounds like Darlington is in that category where they're having some issues with the track settling and the track will start to come up if they don't pave it. With the exception of that, I am totally opposed to the paving of racetracks. History is they screw them up more than they help them. History is we're going to go have tire problems for a certain amount of races there. The only way to solve that is to bring a type of tire back that everyone whines about. So why pave it? It doesn't enhance the quality of the race, all it does is make it more difficult for Goodyear to make a tire that can withstand the loads. Especially at a mile-and-a-half - those sort of racetracks. I'm not in favor of paving racetracks, I'm not in favor of putting new asphalt down for the sake of finding more grip. I think that's the exact opposite of what we should be doing. So with the exception of a maintenance issue, I don't think they should ever pave a racetrack. When the speeds are too excessive that's when Goodyear brings a tire that everyone whines about, like we had at Vegas. We can get the speeds down but for a week all you hear is all the whining about how bad the cars drove. So - it's a no-win situation and that's why I don't think they should ever pave racetracks."
COULD THE CAR OF TOMORROW HELP? "I can't imagine how the Car of Tomorrow could help that problem."
THE SUPERSTITIONS OF OLD-TIME DRIVERS SEEM TO HAVE FADED AWAY. WHY? DO YOU HAVE ANY SUPERSTITIONS OF YOUR OWN? "(It's) because they haven't had enough experience of bad things to buy into it. You do this long enough and you'll start believing almost anything. The older you get, the more you see things happening, the more you wonder why. I think that's where superstitions came from originally and that's why they get enhanced. That's the only answer I have. I understand why people are superstitious and because a) happened and b) happened at the same time and c) was a result, it's pretty easy to come to that conclusion in this sport. "Do I have some superstitions. I do . some that are kinda quirky."
WOULD YOU PREFER TO BE HAVING ANOTHER WEEKEND WORKING WITH THE IMPALA SS OR ARE YOU HAPPIER TO BE BACK WITH THE MONTE CARLO SS? "I think the formula NASCAR had - in walking us into the Car of Tomorrow - is correct, instead of wiping the slate clean and starting with just the Car of Tomorrow. The negative is that we're going to go back and forth from one car to the other throughout the year. That's a challenge for us as teams to overcome. I'm comfortable with it. The overall game plan was right and the only way to execute that game plan is to alternate when you're in the cars. Keep this in mind too. Bristol and Martinsville are completely different from Texas. So when I walked in the gate this morning I didn't say: "You're in the old-style car and you need to drive it this way." I was thinking: "You're at Texas Motor Speedway, this is what you need to accomplish." I'm not really paying much attention to what car I'm driving, I'm just trying to make it go around the track as fast as I can. And I think that's probably what everybody's doing."
AT&T HAS ITS DAY IN COURT SOON. ARE YOU HOPING FOR A SOLUTION TO THE ISSUE? "As I said a couple of weeks ago, it has to come to a conclusion. We can't as a company continue without understanding what the result is and nor can AT&T. Nor can NASCAR, for that matter. So there is some form of resolution coming quickly and that is a good thing. It's a good thing we'll know what direction we're heading in and we can plan accordingly. Cingular's been so great to work with and we certainly want to continue that relationship. If for whatever reason it doesn't go our way - we have to plan for that as well. It has to come to a conclusion and we're glad that it will come to a conclusion soon."
ARE WE MAKING TOO MUCH OF THE HENDRICK HOT STREAK? HOW MUCH IS DOMINANCE AND HOW MUCH GOOD BREAKS? "When things are going well for you, you are having good breaks, but they're earned breaks. This is a continuation from last year. If you look at the performance in the last eight or 10 races of the year the 24 and the 48 were really, really good. So it continued into this year. There's no question that - in my opinion it's the 24, the 48, the 20 and the 31 that have been the four best cars overall. There's been periods when other people have been better but on average they've been the best four. The 24 and the 48 have been really good and no, I don't think you've been making too much out of it. I do understand that they've got some good breaks, but they've also got some bad breaks, (yet) they have put themselves in position to win almost every race and that's what you have to do, to put yourself in position to win. You have to put yourself in position in this sport and they've done a remarkable job of putting themselves in position."
IS THERE ANY PARTICULAR THEORY AS TO WHY THEY'RE DOMINANT? "I'll give you my theory. I can't say this is the garage's mindset - I don't know. But my theory is that they are well funded, they are well organized, and exceptionally talented. From top to bottom: drivers, crew chiefs, engineers, crew members, pit crews. Rick Hendrick is an incredible car owner that provides a lot of things that make the team work. They have talent. They have well thought-out plans. They have a goal and they try to accomplish it. That's over-simplifying why they are so good but Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch and Casey Mears are all top-notch drivers. That's just how it is and they have great equipment and great people - they have a lot of people, they have a lot of funding, they have a lot of it. They're probably the biggest team. I'd be willing to bet they are the biggest team. Big doesn't make you successful. The right game plan, with the right people and the right funding and the right parts and all the bits you need to be successful and you couple that with the right game plan you're going to have success. That's my theory. It's not one thing. It's not because they have Jeff Gordon. We saw at times last year when Jeff looked an average driver and you always knew he wasn't an average driver, he was a great driver. They have stepped their equipment up so that Jeff can execute. When you give Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson . you put them in the position when they can finish the deal. That's proven. They know how to finish the deal. So they're taking advantage of a great opportunity in front of them. To me that's why."
-credit: gm racing