Richard Childress Racing
February 19, 2012
Burton Survives Early Incident, Brings Home 11th-Place Finish in the Budweiser Shootout
"I don't know what to say. Plate racing is a huge challenge and one of the great things about the tandem racing is it separated the pack."
Start – 12
Finish – 11
Laps Led – 0
After being involved in a multi-car accident on lap 10, Jeff Burton and the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet team’s “never-give-up” attitude paid off and resulted in an 11th-place finish in the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway. After drawing the 12th-place starting position at Friday night’s annual Budweiser Shootout Draw Party, Burton started the race with no issues and immediately entered the top 10 during the first 10 laps of the 75-lap event. On lap 10, however, the South Boston Va., native was collected in a multi-car accident, typical at restrictor-plate tracks like Daytona and Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, suffering moderate damage to the right-front fender and both rear quarter panels of the Chevrolet Impala. Crew chief Drew Blickensderfer directed Burton down pit road four times under caution to repair the damage without going a lap down to the leaders. After returning to green-flag conditions, Burton reported that the left-rear tire was rubbing against the quarter panel and it could falter at any moment. His prediction came true a few laps later as the tire went flat on the front stretch of the 2.5-mile facility, forcing the 44-year-old veteran to pit road while the rest of the field was running under green-flag conditions. As the No. 31 pit crew changed two left-side Goodyear tires and made additional modifications to the damaged machine, Burton fell two laps down to the leaders. After the competition caution flew on lap 25, the Caterpillar pit crew went back to work on the damage and made necessary repairs for Burton to go out on track and run competitive lap times for the remainder of the event. As the race went back to green-flag conditions, the 21-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winner found himself in the 21st position. Burton was unable to collect a “lucky dog” award to get back on the lead lap, but was able to improve his position by nine spots before the checkered flag flew in a wild event that included five caution-flag periods.
JEFF BURTON QUOTE:
“I don’t know what to say. Plate racing is a huge challenge and one of the great things about the tandem racing is it separated the pack. One of the bad things about the tandem racing is, I guess, people thought it was boring. I don’t know what to say. It’s a very difficult thing to try to figure out. At the end of the day, it’s the driver’s responsibility not to cause wrecks, but it is just really hard. You saw an intensity level tonight you won’t see for the (Daytona) 500 until…well, what happens in the 500 every year, everybody is pretty calm. Then, it gets about halfway and it starts to get a little more intense. In those last 100 miles, there is just caution after caution and you get a mad dash for the end. That is what happens.”