Richard Childress Racing
May 13, 2012
Jeff Burton Brings Home 18th-Place Finish at Darlington Raceway
"We definitely wanted to come out of here with a better finish tonight, but I can't say enough about the effort these No. 31 guys put out all night."
Start - 10
Finish - 18
Laps Led - 0
Points Position - 17
Jeff Burton and the No. 31 BB&T Chevrolet team battled to find the right handling throughout the Southern 500 and finished 18th at Darlington Raceway. After a solid qualifying effort, the South Boston, Va. native rolled off the starting grid in the 10th position. Immediately providing feedback to crew chief Drew Blickensderfer that the No. 31 Chevrolet was very loose in all facets of the historic 1.366-mile track, Burton settled into the top 20 for the longest green-flag run in the history of the 62-year-old facility. While the 44-year-old driver wrestled with the loose-handling condition on the No. 31 Chevrolet, he felt that the car's handling improved on long runs. Burton fell one lap down to the race leader near the halfway point of the advertised 367-lap event, prompting Blickensderfer to make some major chassis adjustments on ensuing pit stops to balance the handling on the car. As the race progressed into the night and track temperatures dropped, the Richard Childress Racing veteran driver reported the car handled the best it had all evening and Burton worked his way into the "lucky dog" position. A perfectly-timed, caution-flag period with 59 laps to go gave the No. 31 team the opportunity to return to the lead lap, receiving the "lucky dog" award, with Burton running in the 19th position. The 21-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winner raced as high as 12th with 30 laps to go powered by the strength of many fast pit stops by the No. 31 pit crew, who were solid all night. During a late-race restart, Burton was shuffled to the 18th position where he remained until the finish of the race. With the top-20 finish, Burton moved up one position to 17th in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings..
JEFF BURTON QUOTE:
"We definitely wanted to come out of here with a better finish tonight, but I can't say enough about the effort these No. 31 guys put out all night. Towards the latter part of the race, we were running consistent lap times with the leaders. However, we were pinned one lap down on that initial long green-flag run and seemed to play 'catch up' all night. I've never seen anything like the long green-flag runs here at Darlington (Raceway). I can't say enough about the No. 31 pit crew too. Every pit stop tonight, we gained positions on pit road. They've been consistently fast all season."