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NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Camping World RV Sales 301

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  Camping World RV Sales 301

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Camping World RV Sales 301

Jeff Burton
July 14, 2013


LOUDON, NEW HAMPSHIRE

THE MODERATOR: Congratulations on your run today. Thank you for your time this afternoon.
We now welcome our third place finisher, Jeff Burton. Tell us about your run out there today.
JEFF BURTON: Well, obviously we are happy with our finish. We would have liked to have been a couple spots better but we had a good car most of the day, and you know, it was very aggressive, real hard racing.
It was a lot of fun. The cautions didn't really fall the way we needed them to. The way it worked out for us, we had to put tires on at that time when everybody in front us only got fuel and that loss of track position hurt us some but that's just the way it fell out. Had it gone green for 40 or 50 laps, then we were in the catbird seat. Just worked out that way. Wasn't a bad call, just a set of circumstances.
I thought we had second or third best car. I thought 78 had the best car. He seemed to be the fastest car. I know I was getting away from Kyle, and he was getting away from me.
So I thought we had the second or third best car. And Kurt definitely had the best car; he had his trouble, and once he had his trouble, I thought, hey, the door is open and now we've got a shot. Just didn't work out for us.

Q. You had your best qualifying start of the season, was fast in practice, best finish of the year, we've joked about this in the past; did you remember how to drive this weekend?
JEFF BURTON: I did. I forgot every now and then though. You know, we feel good about what we're doing. I know it has not all shown up, but we made a little charge there, started moving up the points, knocking off, 10s, 11s, but they were on mile‑and‑a‑halves and that was a way step forward for us.
Even Kentucky last week, we are were really good in Kentucky, we ran Top‑5, Top‑6, Top‑7 a lot and ended up getting fender damage at the end of the race and finished 19th. So normally we end up running eighth and ended up getting checked.
We have been running a lot better the last two months. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying we are the class of the field but we are definitely making progress and we feel like we are starting to build on something, and we understand what we're looking for now.
So we have a baseline to work off of; first time in a couple years we have a baseline to work off of. We are excited about it. We feel like we are understanding why we are running well and we think we can improve.
And we don't think we are out of the Chase. I know everybody else in the world does, but we don't. We feel like we can still do it. There's a lot of stuff that's going to happen between now and Richmond. It's so competitive, so tight. Today is a good example: Everybody is racing each other that's racing for those spots, and if we can knock offsome ‑‑ get on one of those streaks that I used to get on, we can make it and we intend to. I know it's a long‑shot but I think we can.

Q. Given the way everyone else's cars, and especially tires were falling off at the end and the way your cars seemed to handle and maneuver around traffic what chance did you give yourself on that green and white checkered?
JEFF BURTON: I was pretty excited about that last green and white checkered. I thought that gave us a shot. Typically on those restarts, the outside guy would get a big jump, the outside leader and the fourth place guy would be leading going into turn one. That didn't work out that time.
Brian spun his tires and just couldn't get going, and then Tony had to check up to keep from passing him at the line, and that was the end of it right there for us. I was pushing Brian down the front straightaway and I had to get off of him getting into one or I'd have wrecked him. That was our shot, for us to both clear, and then me go after him. Once that didn't happen, then our shot was over.

Q. You touched on this a little bit, but what exactly do you guys do to make you run better here today? I know you guys said you were making steps toward that, but what was the difference today, and are you surprised that the run came here at this track?
JEFF BURTON: Well, you know, I don't think everybody understands this: This is Luke's first year as a Cup crew chief; this is one of my engineer's second year as a Cup crew chief; the other engineer, it's his first year as a Cup crew engineer. It's our first time all working together. We have half the people on this team are new.
We are so new to each other, and we got off to a start of the year, where we were not running as well as we need to, and, if there was a wreck on the racetrack, I was in it. I couldn't miss a wreck to save my life. And all that stuff drove us back in the points, but most of it was‑‑ a lot of the point thing was, we just didn't have any luck. We got in wrecks, I got in every one of them; I couldn't miss them.
We are starting to learn each other. The system that we have that Eric's been working really hard to get put in, all that's helping. We have a lot of things going on; it's not one thing, but I think the main thing is just having time together and understanding each other.
It turned the week after Charlotte. We went, I don't even remember where we raced. We raced and Kansas, we didn't have a good finish, because I got in a wreck that was in front of me, but we ran well. And the stuff that we did going into that race was completely different than we had done going into any other race and from then on, we've been go. I won't go into specifics about what we did, but it taught us what we could do to be better and since then we have been pretty good.
Now, again, we have not been the best car but we have been a solid Top‑10 car.

Q. Can you talk about what Kevin's absence will mean to RCR, and along with that, Kevin has said that Kurt has really pushed him this season. Has he had a similar effect on you?
JEFF BURTON: Well, Kurt and‑‑ any time a team runs well that is part of your organization, it pushes you to be better. That's the one thing that I've been disappointed and what the 31 has been able to contribute the last couple of years is we have not been able to push our teammates and when they are struggling they have not been able to lean on us to get help. And that's not a good thing. All the team's got to be working together. All the team's got to be giving something in order for it to work.
The 78 group has done a lot to help us move the ball forward. We've done a lot to help them move the ball forward, too, but they have been a contributing member of helping us, and we've helped them too. It's been a good relationship, because the better we all run, the better we will all be because we will push each other and make us better.
As far as Kevin leaving, you don't lose that calibre of driver without it having an impact on your organization. We are going to have to‑‑ I'm going to have to step up in some areas. Paul is going to have to step up in some areas and then when the third team and all that's done, they are going to have to step up, too.
I understand, things happen in this sport. People make changes and people need to do something different. There should be no hard feelings. What we have to do is embrace the challenge and embrace the opportunity and go out and try to make it work, and try to be better through it.
But you can't lose; you can't lose a caliber driver like Kevin, and, you know, it not impact you. It's just that simple. But again, I think we can overcome it, and I think if we had set out to do, we can be better. Not because he's leaving but because in his absence, we're going to do stuff to fill that void and through that, you make him get better.

Q. When I talked to you a couple weeks ago, you said, "I love New Hampshire." Talk about why this track has such magic for you.
JEFF BURTON: I like the people here. I really am comfortable here. I've probably been racing here for 25 years. The first Nationwide race, I was here for that, right there (pointing). I was here (Laughter).
You know, to me, I'm comfortable here. I just like being here. It's a really challenging racetrack. I enjoy the track. It's fun. It's aggressive. It's hard. But you know, I'm comfortable here. I like being here. I like racing here. We have‑‑ Caterpillar has some bidders (ph) that come around and do hospitality; it's fun to hang out with them. It's a lot of fun for me.

Q. I know the last few races up here, we have had long green flag runs and today was just caution after caution. How was that helping your car or was it going against you?
JEFF BURTON: A lot of it depended on which line you were in on the restart. Our car was pretty good on restarts but if the guy in front us wasn't good, we were stuck in that line and we would lose spots. We were a little better on the outside and we could get moving a little better on the outside.
The way it impacted us more than anything was just the line you happened to be in. If I could have always started on the outside, I think I would have been a lot better but it doesn't work like that. That was the biggest impact. The cautions are interesting. We go through these phases where we have all these green flag stops. I didn't stop once on a green last week at Daytona. I mean, at Daytona.
You just never know. We talk about our sport and we need to change this and change that and then we'll go through eight weeks of no green flag stops. It's just how our sport is.

Q. Given the momentum you've built up, is it almost a bittersweet thing you have to take a week off?
JEFF BURTON: I want to take a week off (Laughter).

Q. What do you plan to do with it then?
JEFF BURTON: You know, we have a little house in South Carolina out on some water and we're just going to go hang out there and fish and just hang out for the next ten days and kind of catch our breath and regroup and get ready for this late charge. That's what we are going to do.
I think a break's good for everybody. Two weeks off in this season‑‑ everybody in our team needs a break and everybody in the garage needs a break.

Q. On a lighthearted note, I know you were not up for a Daytime Emmy but have you had a chance to celebrate with any of the guys at General Hospital for the 50th Anniversary?
JEFF BURTON: No, I didn't get an invitation but I'm sure I did my part to prevent them from getting an Emmy the year I was there.
Y'all have a nice weekend.



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