Richard Childress Racing
May 7, 2012
Strong Rebound Gives Burton, No. 31 Caterpillar Racing Team Top-10 Finish at 'Dega
"The Cat Racing team never gave up despite some adversity and we got a well-earned top-10 finish."
Start - 29
Finish - 10
Laps Led - 3
Points Position - 18
Jeff Burton and the No. 31 Caterpillar Racing team dealt with adversity at a number of points during the Aaron's 499 but capitalized on good fortune toward the end of the race and left Talladega Superspeedway with a 10th-place finish. Burton qualified in the 29th position Saturday for the second of four superspeedway events of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Morning rain pushed back the start time but, as the green flag waved just before 1 p.m. Central Time, the gap from the pole position to Burton quickly vanished. He was 12th by lap three and moved into the ninth position three laps later. Rising water and oil temperatures in the engine forced Burton to drop back from the lead pack to allow more air onto the front of the No. 31 Chevrolet at the 40-lap mark of the race scheduled for 188 laps. Yeoman's work by the Cat pit crew, during both caution periods and green-flag stops, kept the team in the hunt. Unfortunately, the fuel cell ran dry on lap 148, forcing Burton to make an unscheduled green-flag pit stop while down on power. The No. 31 Chevrolet remained on the lead lap, but it was relayed to Burton that the fuel cell wasn't filled completely on the previous stop so they would need a caution before the checkered flag waved. That usually isn't a problem at Talladega, where late-race theatrics are the norm. Multiple cautions in the last 15 laps of the race eventually forced one, and then a second green-white-checkered finish. The No. 31 Chevrolet suffered damage to the right-front fender on the last caution but the Cat crew fixed the problem without losing a lap and was ready for the trophy dash to the finish. The No. 31 Chevrolet sat 15th in the field for the final restart and picked up five spots by the time the checkered flag finally waved on lap 194. With the top-10 finish, Burton picked up two spots, to 18th, in the 2012 Sprint Cup Series driver point standings.
JEFF BURTON QUOTE:
"The Cat Racing team never gave up despite some adversity and we got a well-earned top-10 finish. Not being able to race the way we want to race is frustrating. Every time we would get in the pack, our water pressure would get real high. We didn't want to push water so we had to back out of the main pack to get some air on the front end. That wasn't a lot of fun. But we caught a lucky break on a late caution and, fortunately, that helped us a lot."