Jeff Burton will race Chassis No. 329 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable this weekend. This No. 31 Chevrolet, originally built in 2010, has seen significant track time over the last two seasons including Texas Motor Speedway in November 2010 (started-16th, finished-36th), Bristol Motor Speedway in August 2011 (started-21st, finished-15th) and New Hampshire Motor Speedway in September 2011 (started-18th, finished-13th). Burton also tallied a top-five finish at Phoenix International Raceway last November, finishing fourth after starting 14th and finished 22nd at Martinsville Speedway in April after suffering electrical issues near the halfway point of the event.
Virginia is for Lovers … Burton grew up an hour away from Martinsville in South Boston, Va. Sunday’s event marks Burton’s 37th start at the half-mile facility and 651st-career Sprint Cup Series entry. He has amassed 10 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes, led 940 laps and made one trip to Victory Lane in 1997.
Loopy in the “Hot Dog City” … Burton has garnered some impressive NASCAR Loop Data statistics at Martinsville Speedway since 2006. He has the ninth-best Driver Rating (88.9), spent 4,494 Laps Running in the Top 15 (eighth-most) and ran the fastest lap on track 282 times (seventh-most). Burton has also made 728 Green Flag Passes with 384 of them coming while running in the top 15 under green-flag conditions (Quality Passes).
Race Rewind: Kansas Speedway … Contact with another competitor on lap 84 of 267 sent Burton’s No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet spinning into the outside retaining wall and relegated the team to a 28th-place finish at Kansas Speedway.
Points Racing … After the 32nd points-paying event of the 36-race Sprint Cup Series season, Burton has scored 780 points and sits in the 19th position in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings. The veteran RCR driver has two top-five and six top-10 finishes, has spent 2,789 laps running in the top 15 and made 3,158 green-flag passes thus far this season.
You were running in the top 15 before suffering electrical issues in April. Do you expect the same effort this weekend? “Short tracks have been our strong point so far this season. We ran pretty well in April and typically Martinsville Speedway has been a strong track for us so we expect to go there and run well. The track does seem to be changing lately and we’ve been a little behind the curve on setup stuff, but I feel pretty good about going back there and running well.”
What is the difference between racing at Martinsville Speedway in April and October? “There really isn’t much of a difference running Martinsville Speedway between April and October. The weather is pretty similar and I think the biggest thing that changes is the technology. The sport moves so fast where something that works in April doesn’t necessarily work in October. It still works, but it just won’t be good enough to win. Keeping up with everyone else is the hardest thing by far. Everyone is trying to get better and if you don’t keep trying to get ahead, you are going to fall way behind.”