Richard Childress Racing
July 10, 2012
Jeff Burton Event Preview: LENOX Industrial Tools 301
"New Hampshire Motor Speedway is a very challenging track. It’s one of those places if you are off a little bit, it shows a lot on the leaderboard."
Event Preview Fact Sheet
No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet
LENOX Industrial Tools 301 - July 15, 2012
New Hampshire Motor Speedway - Loudon, N.H.
Race Notes and Quotes:
This Weekend’s Caterpillar Chevrolet at New Hampshire Motor Speedway … Jeff Burton will race chassis No. 382 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This No. 31 Chevrolet was utilized in February at Phoenix International Raceway where engine issues thwarted Burton’s top-five run and relegated him to a 33rd-place finish. This car also raced at Richmond International Raceway where an on-track incident knocked Burton and the No. 31 team out of contention, forcing them to settle for a 31st-place finish
Career New Hampshire Stats … This race marks Burton’s 35th start in “The Granite State” and 638th-career Sprint Cup Series entry. He has amassed four wins, eight top-five and 13 top-10 finishes at one-mile facility.
Getting Loopy at the “The Magic Mile” … Burton has garnered some impressive NASCAR Loop Data statistics at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Of all drivers entering the summer event, he has the fifth-best Average Running Position (12.9) the sixth-most Green Flag Passes (746), spent 2,914 Laps in the Top 15 (sixth-most), and a 94.1 Driver Rating that ranks him eighth amongst his competitors.
Mr. New Hampshire … Burton is no stranger to Victory Lane at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, bringing home the race-winning trophies in four-consecutive seasons (1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000). During his memorable victory in the 2000 event, the South Boston, Va. native paced the field for all 300 circuits, marking the last time a Sprint Cup Series driver led 100 percent of the laps completed.
Race Rewind … Burton made three amazing saves, avoided multiple accidents, and led the No. 31 Wheaties Chevrolet team to a second-place finish in the Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway.
Points Racing … After 18 points-paying events of the 36-race Sprint Cup Series season, Burton has scored 470 points and sits in the 18th position in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings. The veteran RCR driver has two top-five and four top-10 finishes and has spent 1,853 laps running in the top 15, made 1,946 green-flag passes and led 35 laps.
Harrison Update … With five race weekends to go in the season, Harrison Burton (Burton's son) is atop the point standings in the three different divisions he competes in the 2012 USAC Generation Next Series (Lite 160, Senior Animal and Lite World Formula). So far this season, Harrison has 10 victories, nine second-place results and six third-place finishes across the three divisions. The next event weekend of the 16-race schedule, The Battle of the Brickyard, is set for Indianapolis from July 24 – 28 and falls on the same weekend as father Jeff competes in the Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400.
JEFF BURTON QUOTES:
What does the No. 31 Caterpillar team need to do to be fast at New Hampshire Motor Speedway?
“New Hampshire Motor Speedway is a very challenging track. It’s one of those places if you are off a little bit, it shows a lot on the leaderboard. There is a fine line between being really good and not very good. It’s definitely a tough race track. The car must turn in the middle of the corners at New Hampshire. Rear grip has become less of an issue since we first started racing there. When we first started going there, rear grip was everything. If you could accelerate off the corner before your competitor, you were in good shape. Throughout the years, that has really changed. You must rotate in the middle of the corners. If it doesn’t rotate, your lap times will suffer. To me, rotation in the middle of the corners is the most important key to being strong.”
How has the racing changed over the years at New Hampshire Motor Speedway?
“They modified the track years ago and made it more difficult to run the bottom lane. In my opinion, that has made it harder to pass. I know that sounds crazy. If you had position on the inside line in the past, the position was yours. Now it isn’t guaranteed. It’s a fun and challenging race track, definitely one of my favorite places to go. It’s a different atmosphere. The people are nice and the atmosphere is relaxed.”
Would you say it is Martinsville Speedway on steroids?
“I would agree with that. At Martinsville (Speedway), rear grip becomes more of an issue. It actually has many similarities to Martinsville, just a bigger track.”
You are a four-time race winner at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Are you surprised that you haven’t got the finishes you’ve expected there recently?
“We’ve run really well in most of the races at New Hampshire (Motor Speedway). Recently, we haven’t performed well there at all though. Two or three years ago, I thought we had the race won. We were leading the race and pitted and no one else did. So we ended up losing it. We just played the wrong strategy. We’ve run well there, just not on a consistent basis lately.”