Burton 19th in Rain-Delayed Winn Dixie 250 27 Cottonelle/Kleenex Fusion Fastest Ford Qualifier Daytona Beach, FL (July 7, 2007) ... Ward Burton piloted the Cottonelle / Kleenex Ford Fusion to a 19th-place finish in the rain-delayed Winn Dixie...
Burton 19th in Rain-Delayed Winn Dixie 250
27 Cottonelle/Kleenex Fusion Fastest Ford Qualifier
Daytona Beach, FL (July 7, 2007) ... Ward Burton piloted the Cottonelle / Kleenex Ford Fusion to a 19th-place finish in the rain-delayed Winn Dixie 250 at the Daytona International Speedway on Saturday morning. Yes, Saturday morning at 9 a.m. ET. The 100-lap, 250-mile event was scheduled for Friday night; however, a heavy rainstorm late in the afternoon led to the postponement of the event until Saturday morning. And, with the Pepsi 400 already scheduled for Saturday night, the NASCAR Busch Series race was set for a 9 a.m. ET start at the World Center of Racing.
Qualifying for the Winn Dixie 250 was held at 1 p.m. on Friday with Ward Burton the 17th driver to make his run against the clock to determine his starting position for the 19th race on the Busch Series schedule for 2007. Burton responded with a fast lap of 49.277 seconds / 182.641 mph to earn the 6th starting position in the 43-car field. Burton and the #27 Cottonelle / Kleenex Team posted the fastest qualifying effort of all the Ford teams. In fact, Burton was the only Ford in the top ten with the second-fastest Ford being Greg Biffle in 13th.
The Winn Dixie 250 was an impound race for the Busch Series, therefore, only minor adjustments (air pressure) are allowed after qualifying. With the #27 Cottonelle / Kleenex Ford set up for an 8 p.m. ET race on Friday night, the hot, humid weather and slick track conditions on Saturday morning would be additional factors to address during the race.
During the early laps, Burton fell to 18th position and radioed to Crew Chief Stewart Cooper that he had "a bad push, the nose was really tight, and little control of the car entering the turns". With the NASCAR mandated "competition caution" waved on lap 20, Burton was running 28th. During their pit stop on lap 22, the team made major air pressure and chassis adjustments as well as changing four tires and adding fuel. Burton would restart 26th and drive his way back into the top twenty by lap 33. The veteran driver reported that his Ford was "working much better, but I'm still off the throttle too much entering the corners". At the midway point of the race (lap 50), Burton was running 14th and told Cooper to "give me more of the same adjustments that you made on the first pit stop".
Caution waved on lap 51, and Burton made his second stop of the race one lap later. The Cottonelle / Kleenex crew made the same major air pressure and chassis adjustments along with tires and fuel. Burton restarted 17th on lap 56; however, reported to Cooper that "the handle went away and the car is too tight" on lap 70. When caution waved on lap 73, Burton was running 26th.
The final stop of the morning on lap 75 for tires, fuel, and more chassis and air adjustments set Burton for his race to the checkered flag. Through several caution flags and spirited race competition that saw the race conclude with a green/white/checker finish, Burton brought the Cottonelle / Kleenex Ford home with a 19th-place finish.
"This Cottonelle / Kleenex Ford would really fly today," Burton stated. "I had plenty of motor, and if we can ever get this car to handle, we've definitely got something for them. Stewart (Crew Chief Cooper) and all the guys did a great job preparing this car, and the adjustments made during the race really helped. The guys really did a great job with driver comfort inside the car. It was a hot race, but it was as comfortable as sitting in a lawn chair."
The next race for Burton and the Kleenex Racing Team will be at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday, July 14th. Practice begins on Friday, with qualifying set for Saturday at 10:05 a.m. CT. The 200-lap, 300-mile race is set for a 2:00 p.m. CT start. ESPN2 will provide television coverage with MRN handling the radio broadcast.