Jeff Burton and the No. 31 Armed Forces Foundation Chevrolet team survived two penalties and brought home a top-15 finish in the Pocono 400 presented by #NASCAR at Pocono Raceway. After qualifying the red, white and blue No. 31 Chevrolet in the 20th position for the 400-mile affair, the South Boston, Va., native quickly climbed into the top 15 by lap 30 and eventually cracked the top 10 by lap 50.
The third caution flag of the event was displayed on lap 67 and the 44-year-old veteran driver brought his Richard Childress Racing machine down pit road for four fresh Goodyear tires and Sunoco Green E15 fuel. Upon completion of the routine pit stop, NASCAR officials forced Burton to the tail end of the field, as the Richard Childress Racing veteran was clocked for speeding upon exit of pit road, receiving one of 22 pit road speeding penalties throughout the 160-lap event. Burton reluctantly dropped back to the tail end of the field to serve the penalty as the green flag waved for the ensuing restart on lap 72. However, according to NASCAR officials, Burton was supposed to restart behind the “wave around” cars that stayed out under that specific caution-flag period, even though they didn’t catch up to the rest of the field prior to the restart.
Another penalty was assessed to the No. 31 team, much to the chagrin of the 21-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winner. After serving the “pass through” pit road penalty, the Armed Forces Foundation team received a lucky break as the caution flag was displayed for debris, keeping them on the lead lap in the 18th position. A confused and frustrated Burton regained his composure and climbed his way back into the top 15 10 laps later. Fighting a tight-handling condition on the No. 31 Chevrolet, the RCR driver survived several exciting restarts on the newly resurfaced 2.5-mile triangular-shaped track and managed to maintain position for the remainder of the event, finishing in the 15th position. Burton remains 18th in Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.
Start – 20 Finish – 15 Laps Led – 0 Points – 18
JEFF BURTON QUOTE: “This team is a resilient bunch. We fought back from two costly penalties and managed a top-15 finish. I’ll be interested to talk to the NASCAR officials about the penalties. Obviously, something went wrong there. We definitely had speed in the car at times and are improving every week. It was also great to show off the colors of the Armed Forces Foundation and meet some of our troops at the track. I am very proud to be affiliated with such a great organization.”