Richard Childress Racing
June 12, 2012
Jeff Burton Event Preview: Michigan 400
"The shape of Michigan International Speedway will allow us to run more places than just the bottom."
Event Preview Fact Sheet
No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet
June 17, 2012
Michigan International Speedway
Race Notes and Quotes:
This Weekend’s No. 31 Chevrolet at Michigan International Speedway … Jeff Burton will race chassis No. 393 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable this weekend. This No. 31 Chevrolet, built new for the 2012 season, was utilized twice this year at Auto Club Speedway in March (started-19th, finished-22nd) and Darlington Raceway in May (started-10th, finished-18th).
Career Michigan Stats … This weekend’s 400-mile event marks Burton’s 37th start at the two-mile facility and 634th-career Sprint Cup Series entry. Burton garnered four top-five and nine top-10 finishes at the track along with two pole awards in 1996 and 2006. He also led 75 laps at the Brooklyn, Mich.-based race track.
Getting Loopy in the Irish Hills … Burton has accrued impressive NASCAR Loop Data Statistics at Michigan International Speedway since its inception in 2006. Of all drivers entering the event, he has the third-most green flag passes (1,078) with 382 coming while running in the top 15. Burton has also spent 1,041 laps running in the top 15.
Goodyear Tire Testing … The No. 31 team has been selected as one of the three Sprint Cup Series teams to test the new repaved surface at Bristol Motor Speedway on Tuesday, June 12 and Wednesday, June 13. Burton will field questions about the first day of Sprint Cup Series testing from the media inside the BMS infield media center on Tuesday at 5 p.m. ET.
Team Chevy … Burton is scheduled to participate in a question-and-answer session at the Team Chevy stage located in the Michigan International Speedway display area on Sunday, June 17 at 9:05 a.m. ET.
NASCAR Unites … The No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet will sport red, white, and blue patriotic trim on spoilers, fins and side skirts to support the NASCAR Unites program. The patriotic initiative is designed to unite the NASCAR industry and fans this summer to celebrate America and support U.S. military families. For information on NASCAR Unites, visit http://www.NASCAR.COM/Unites, like NASCAR Unites on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/NASCARUnites or follow them on Twitter: @NASCARUnites.
Race Rewind … Burton and the No. 31 Armed Forces Foundation Chevrolet team survived two rare penalties and to bring home a top-15 finish in the Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway.
Points Racing … Burton scored 351 points and sits 18th in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings. After 14 points-paying events of the 36-race Sprint Cup Series season, Burton has one top-five and three top-10 finishes. The veteran RCR driver has spent 1,789 laps running in the top 15, has made 1,477 green-flag passes and led 34 laps.
JEFF BURTON QUOTES:
What do you expect out of Michigan International Speedway now that it is repaved?
“I think it is going to be really fast. I am more concerned about how many racing grooves there will be. Until we get there and start running, it is really hard to know. Sometimes with new asphalt, there is only one groove. One groove at Michigan International Speedway would be hard to deal with restarts and everything else. We need to figure out where the grooves are going to be and will there be multiple grooves. All those things we need to figure out during testing on Thursday and practice throughout the weekend. Right now, I just don’t have that answer. I have to keep an open mind going there until we can figure out what we need to do.”
Michigan International Speedway has always been a place where you see a lot of drivers running in different grooves.
“The shape of Michigan International Speedway will allow us to run more places than just the bottom. The radius is so tight because the corners and racing groove are so wide. There is a huge difference in the corner radius at the bottom of the race track against the top of the race track. Sometimes with new pavement, there is only one place you can run and until we figure it out, it is hard to know that answer.”
Are the high speeds going to be a major concern?
“It is more of a constant speed at Michigan International Speedway. You’ve got a two-mile race track and you run at a high speed consistently. We have to be careful to not get going too fast. Not just from a safety standpoint, but from a quality of race standpoint. Races tend to be better when the speeds are down just a little bit. The cars drive better when they are going fast, but from the quality of the race standpoint, I’m not sure that more speed out of the track would be a good thing.”
How important is your engine package at Michigan International Speedway?
“Engine reliability is always a concern at Michigan International Speedway because you are in the high RPM range for so long. When you lift off the gas there, the RPMs don’t come down as much. You operate with a very high average RPM. That is always a concern and will be again this weekend.”