Originally written on Start 'N' Park Blog  |  Last updated 10/2/14

Jeff Burton will race chassis No. 357 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable this weekend. This No. 31 Chevrolet, built during the 2011 season, was driven by RCR teammate Kevin Harvick last year at Sonoma where he started 26th and finished ninth.

Breakfast of Champions … The iconic Wheaties franchise returns to Sprint Cup Series action this weekend. This is the third of six races during the 2012 season in that Wheaties will be the primary partner of the No. 31 Chevrolet. Wheaties also serves as an associate partner of the No. 31 for the remainder of the races during the 2012 Sprint Cup Series season. For more information, please visit www.wheaties.com or follow Wheaties on Twitter @Wheaties_FUEL and Facebook http://www.facebook.com/Wheaties. 

Career Sonoma Stats … This weekend’s 110-lap event marks Burton’s 19th start at the 1.99-mile facility and 635th-career Sprint Cup Series entry. Burton garnered one top-five and five top-10 finishes at the track. He also led three laps at the Sonoma, Calif.-based race track.

Getting Loopy in Wine Country … Burton has accrued impressive NASCAR Loop Data Statistics at Sonoma since its inception in 2006. Of all drivers entering the event, he has the fourth-most Green Flag Passes (420) with 125 coming while running in the top 15. Burton has also spent 409 laps Running in the Top 15, which ranks him ninth amongst his competitors, and has the 10th-best Average Running Position (16.23). 

Race Rewind … Burton and the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet team brought home a 21st-place finish last Sunday afternoon after battling a tight-handling condition during the rain-delayed event at Michigan International Speedway.

Points Racing … After 15 points-paying events of the 36-race Sprint Cup Series season, Burton scored 375 points and is tied for 20th position in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings. The veteran RCR driver has one top-five and three top-10 finishes and spent 1,809 laps running in the top 15, made 1,567 green-flag passes and led 35 laps.


What are your views on road racing? “I enjoy road-course racing, yet hate the finishes. I feel like I am a pretty good road-course racer, but my whole career at Sonoma has been filled with races where we ran well and got wrecked in the end. Sprint Cup Series restarts at Sonoma make some of the best drivers in the world look like idiots. That, to me, is really frustrating. It’s almost to the point where you might as well wreck someone before they wreck you (laughter). It seems you become a victim at road courses more than you do at restrictor-plate tracks. The racing part of it is great. I love road courses, but when you go there racing for points and there are some guys on the track who just don’t care, it becomes very frustrating. When I run a race in the Nationwide Series, I respect those drivers who are racing for points and a championship, but some of these guys just don’t care when it comes to road-course racing. Those are the difficult parts when you go to a road course, but overall I love it and that style of racing.”

How long does it take to get acclimated to road-course racing from oval racing throughout the weekend? “I’ve been going there long enough to know what I am supposed to be doing. Typically, it doesn’t take too long to get adjusted. Having said that, I feel like I am better on Saturday than Friday in practice. When you watch road-course practice, you will see many drivers running a lot of laps. You see a lot of people making more race runs and less qualifying runs.”

You recently tested at Virginia International Raceway in preparation for Sonoma. What exactly are you looking for in a road-course test session? “That’s a difficult question. For me, as a driver, I am testing to get myself into a rhythm. We are actually going back to VIR (Virginia International Raceway) on Thursday to test for a half day and then head to California. The fact of the matter is that the drivers are a weaker point to the team on a road-course weekend. Some are just weaker than others. When you only do it two times a year, you can’t expect to be as good at it as someone who does it on a weekly basis.”

How hard is it to pass at Sonoma? “It depends on a driver’s personality. Some people feel like they have nothing to lose. Other drivers don’t want to make a mistake. For me personally, there are just some areas where I just cross off the list and won’t try to pass at. There are some areas where I really need to focus on and try to pass or keep someone from making a pass.”


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