Start ‘N’ Park Blog is taking a look back at the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver by driver. This recap will take a look at the driver’s stats, the season’s highlights, the season’s lowlights, what a quick look at next year. This installment takes a look back at Jeff Burton who finished in the 19th place in the final standings.
Preseason Pick: 18th
Top 5s: 2
Top 10s: 6
What Was Said Prior To The Season:
“With one less team in the Richard Childress Racing stable, you’d think that means good things for Jeff Burton and his team? Nah, they showed some life at the end of the year, but again I think he’ll get lost in the shuffle. RCR’s resources will be pour into Austin Dillon’s Nationwide and sometime Cup effort. They’ll get their next 2-3 years out of Burton and by that time Ty Dillon should be ready for Cup racing with his brother.”
What Happened In 2012:
After struggling all of 2011 for a top 10 finish, Burton came out and ended that discussion with a fifth place finish at Daytona to open the season. From there he had moments of brilliance, including a 6th at Bristol, 2nd at Daytona, and 6th at Richmond, but nothing much of note. RCR was on a down turn the whole season, so that’s got to be considered when looking back at 2012. I’m sure the pressure will still be on for 2013 (see below) because of internal reasons more so than external reasons.
On To 2013:
With Kevin Harvick leaving after 2013, Burton’s comfort level at RCR might be a little higher than if Harvick wasn’t leaving. There’s still the Dillon brothers he’s got to watch over his shoulder, but also might be Kurt Busch. It’ll be interesting to see he responds in 2013 as he needs to run well early and often.