Jeff Burton and the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet team battled back to finish 19th at Texas Motor Speedway after untimely caution-flag periods trapped them multiple laps down to the leader. Starting the 335-lap event from the 22nd position, the 21-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winner worked his way into the top 15 by lap 25 and during the first long green-flag run of the afternoon, he reported to crew chief Shane Wilson that the No. 31 Chevrolet had developed a loose-handling condition.
After pitting for fresh tires, Sunoco E15 fuel, chassis and air pressure adjustments on lap 86 under green-flag conditions, the South Boston, Va., native was trapped a lap down to the leader in the 26th position when the caution flag was displayed shortly after the pit stop. As the loose-handling condition persisted throughout the race, Burton would struggle with ill-timed caution-flag periods as opportunities to return to the lead lap via the “lucky dog” award eluded him. The Caterpillar team didn’t give up throughout the race, making several chassis adjustments to remedy the loose-handling condition, but eventually fell to the 26th position, two laps down to the leader. The Richard Childress Racing driver was finally dealt good luck with fewer than 25 laps to go when he was able to receive the “lucky dog” award on back-to-back caution-flag periods allowing him to return to the lead lap. The fortunate turn of events gave Burton the opportunity to gain seven positions and bring home a 19th-place finish for the Caterpillar team. Burton remains 19th in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.
Start – 22 Finish – 19 Laps Led – 0 Points – 19th
JEFF BURTON QUOTE: “Everyone on this Caterpillar Chevrolet team put in a solid effort all weekend. I just got crazy loose there towards the middle part of the race and we couldn’t catch a break until it was too late. Shane (Wilson, crew chief) did a great job during his first weekend on top of the box and we hope to run strong again at Phoenix (International Raceway) next week.”