Richard Childress Racing
May 9, 2012
Jeff Burton Event Preview: Southern 500
"Even in the years where we struggled, we always go to Darlington and run well. It's a track that I always liked because you have to be aggressive."
Event Preview Fact Sheet
No. 31 BB&T Chevrolet
May 12, 2012
Darlington (S.C.) Raceway
RACE NOTES and QUOTES:
This Week’s BB&T Chevrolet at Darlington Raceway … Jeff Burton will race chassis No. 393 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This No. 31 Chevrolet, built new for the 2012 season, was utilized in March at Auto Club Speedway where Burton finished in the 22nd position in the rain-shortened Auto Club 400.
Career Darlington Stats … The Southern 500 marks Burton’s 30th start at the 1.366-mile facility and 630th-career Sprint Cup Series entry. Darlington Raceway is one of Burton’s favorite places to visit on the Sprint Cup Series schedule and he amassed two wins, eight top-five and 16 top-10 finishes at the historic track, leading 817.
Getting Loopy with “The Lady in Black” … Burton has garnered impressive NASCAR Loop Data statistics at Darlington Raceway since their inception in 2006. Of all drivers entering the 2012 500-mile event, he has the third most green flag passes (403) with 184 coming while running in the top 15 (quality passes). Burton has also spent 1,622 laps in the top 15, which ranks him 10th amongst his competitors. He also has an impressive 13.86 average running position and 86.4 driver rating at the track deemed “Too Tough to Tame.”
No Stranger to Victory Lane … Burton’s six visits to Darlington Raceway’s Victory Lane across Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series competition stretch from 1997-2002. He completed a rare sweep of both Sprint Cup Series events in 1999 and both Nationwide Series events in 2002 and his first win at the egg-shaped oval took place in the Nationwide Series in 1997. The 44-year-old driver also holds trophies for winning the April 2001 race and two Nationwide Series pole awards in 1998 and 2002.
Burgundy and Gray … Burton’s No. 31 Chevrolet will sport the burgundy and gray colors of Winston-Salem, N.C.-based BB&T this weekend. The No. 31 BB&T Chevrolet paint scheme debuted in March at Bristol Motor Speedway and made appearances this season at Martinsville Speedway and Richmond International Raceway. After this weekend, BB&T will be the primary sponsor at Dover International Speedway in June along with a special edition co-branded paint scheme with Caterpillar next weekend during NASCAR’s Sprint All-Star Race Weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Official Bank of RCR … BB&T is one of the largest financial services holding companies in the U.S. with $174.6 billion in assets and market capitalization of $14.9 billion, as of Dec. 31, 2011. Based in Winston-Salem, N.C., the company operates approximately 1,800 financial centers in 12 states and Washington, D.C., and offers a full range of consumer and commercial banking, securities brokerage, asset management, mortgage and insurance products and services. A Fortune 500 company, BB&T is consistently recognized for outstanding client satisfaction by J.D. Power and Associates, the U.S. Small Business Administration, Greenwich Associates and others. The RCR partnership with BB&T has enjoyed great success both on and off the track in the past five years, including the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series driver’s championship with Clint Bowyer and multiple trips to victory lane in NASCAR’s premiere division at Richmond International Raceway and Talladega Superspeedway. The relationship began at the start of the 2007 Nationwide Series season and moved up to Sprint Cup Series action in 2009. More information about BB&T and its full line of products and services is available at www.BBT.com.
Team Chevy … Burton is scheduled to participate in a question and answer session at the Team Chevy stage located in the Darlington Raceway display area on Saturday, May 12 at 3:10 p.m. ET.
Team Pocono vs. Team Dover ... Dover International Speedway and Pocono Raceway are teaming up for a celebrity softball game featuring Burton and Carl Edwards on Tuesday, May 15 at Campbell’s Field, home of the Camden Riversharks in Camden, N.J. The game, billed as Team Dover vs. Team Pocono, marks the first time two NASCAR tracks have joined forces to promote their respective races. Burton will captain “The Tricky Triangle” team while Edwards will lead the “Monster Mile” squad. The teams rosters will be filled out with drivers from the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, as well Philadelphia-area athletes and celebrities, and members of the local media. Gates open at 4 p.m. with the game beginning at 4:30 p.m. Following the softball game, Burton and Edwards will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the 7:05 p.m. Lancaster Barnstormers vs. Camden Riversharks baseball game. Access to the Team Dover vs. Team Pocono celebrity softball game is free with a ticket to that night’s baseball game. Tickets for the Riversharks game start at just $5, and all children ages 16 and younger that wear their NASCAR gear get in free. In addition, the United Way of Camden County offers free admission for any child that wears the uniform of the little league team they play for to the game. For tickets, call 1-866-SHARKS-9 or visit www.riversharks.com.
Sprint Fan Vote. Vote Now, Vote Often … Fans have the opportunity to vote Burton into the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 19 with the Sprint Fan Vote. The Sprint Fan Vote launched in 2004 as a way to bring one more deserving driver into the Sprint All-Star Race to compete for the $1 million payout. There are three ways you can vote for Burton and votes from your Sprint, Boost and Virgin Mobile phones count double.
Text “VOTE” to 229466 from any mobile handset
Use the NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile application on your Sprint Android device
Voting on handsets is unlimited
There is no voting time limit in 2012
The Sprint Experience
Voting stations will be set up in the Sprint Experience mobile display each race weekend
Race Rewind … 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.
Points Racing … Burton has scored 249 points and sits 18th in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, 53 points out of the final Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup spot. After 10 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 1,381 laps running in the top 15, made 1,140 green-flag passes and led 34 laps.
JEFF BURTON QUOTES:
How do you feel the No. 31 team ran at Darlington Raceway last year and what are your thoughts on the 2012 event?
“You really can’t compare Darlington Raceway to any other intermediate-sized race track. Since they repaved it, it has a lot of grip. It’s kind of an entity on its own. It’s certainly a place where we go and run well. I feel like we have a competitive advantage when we go there in a lot of areas. I also feel comfortable saying we should be competitive there this year as well.”
Why do you think you run so well at Darlington Raceway?
“Even in the years where we struggled, we always go to Darlington and run well. It’s a track that I always liked because you have to be aggressive, but you can’t cross the line and get too aggressive. It’s a really fun place to race. I’ve always embraced it and viewed it as a great opportunity to race at a historic race track. I’ve never viewed it as a place to be scared of. I viewed it as a place to respect a great deal, but a place to go out, have a good time and enjoy. Every time I go there, I just think it is fun to place to race.”
After the repave, did Darlington Raceway become even more intimidating with the higher speeds?
“For those of us who raced it before, we have to forget the “old Darlington” in some ways and be more aggressive. On the “old Darlington,” you would slide up to the wall. You would enter the corner and give yourself enough cushion and sometimes would slide up and hit the wall. Now, the speed enables you to drive so much harder that you hit the wall because you are driving too hard. Driving too hard before meant you crossed the edge and it happened real slow. You knew it was coming. Today, you drive in deep, go back in the throttle and it happens so quick. It’s just a completely different kind of race.”
Can you remember the first time you went to Darlington Raceway and what your thoughts were?
“It is so different from then to now. I think young drivers will have an easier time now than with the old surface. The grip level now makes it is a lot easier. Don’t get me wrong. It’s still the hardest track we race on, but it is easier than it used to be. You don’t have that slip factor in there that you used to have. The drivers who now win the race at Darlington Raceway attack it. Back in the day, it was more like you survived it. You waited for other people to make mistakes and you were there when the race ended to capitalize. For the last 15 years or so, it has been ‘attack the race track.’ The guys who win these races now don’t wait around. They go out and are aggressive. It is easier to do that with more grip compared to the old track with no grip.”