Jeff Burton and the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet team battled back to a top-15 finish of 11th at Pocono Raceway. Starting the 400-mile event from the 24th position after rain forced NASCAR officials to cancel Friday’s qualifying session, the 21-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winner worked his way into the top 20 early while battling a loose on exit and tight in the middle-handling condition.
Burton began to find speed as the race progressed, but a missed shift on a restart relegated the Richard Childress Racing driver to the 27th position on lap 75. By the time the next caution flag was displayed on lap 126, Burton was solidly back in the top 20. The Caterpillar team didn’t give up over the course of the race, making several chassis adjustments to remedy the ill-handling condition during multiple pit stops and finally started to showcase speed in the latter stages of long runs.
The 45-year-old driver restarted in the top 15 on lap 129 and worked his way into the top 10 five laps later, making it to as high as seventh on the leaderboard. Over the final 19 laps, Burton battled through multiple restarts and managed to bring home the black and yellow machine in 11th place. Burton is now 21st in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.
Start – 24 Finish – 11 Laps Led – 0 Points – 21th
JEFF BURTON QUOTE: “Today was just another day where the No. 31 team showed we are making progress with our 1.5-mile and above track program. I dug us a hole early in the race by missing a shift on a restart and restarts were so important today. You had to be aggressive. I also expected to run well here after our successful test session last week. We’ll continue to make progress next weekend at Michigan (International Speedway).”
-Richard Childress Racing PR