Jeff Burton and the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet team finished off the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season with a 19th-place effort in the season-finale race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Starting from the 33rd position, the South Boston, Va., native climbed into the top 25 early in the 400-mile event while battling a loose-handling condition on his Chevrolet.
Despite different chassis adjustments on multiple four-tire pit stops by the Caterpillar pit crew throughout the 267-lap affair, the 21-time Sprint Cup Series race winner wrestled with the loose-handling machine for a majority of the event. During a caution-flag period on lap 158, crew chief Shane Wilson decided to play pit strategy which allowed Burton to only pit once for the remainder of the event compared to other competitors who needed to pit multiple times.
The pit strategy paid off as the event concluded under green-flag conditions. The fortunate turn of events gave Burton the opportunity to gain three positions over the final part of the race and bring home a 19th-place finish for the Caterpillar team. Burton finished the season 19th in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings with two top-five and six top-10 finishes.
Start – 33 Finish – 19 Laps Led – 0 Points – 19th
JEFF BURTON QUOTE: “First off, I want to thank our partners Caterpillar, Wheaties, BB&T and Coca-Cola as well as all the fans out there who continue to support our team each year. This No. 31 team put forth a great effort this entire season and even though we didn’t get the results we wanted today, I couldn’t be more proud of them for never giving up. I also wanted to thank Shane Wilson for helping us out for the last three races.”