Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Kobalt Tools 400: Jeff Burton Race Preview

Jeff Burton

No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet Impala
Event Preview Fact Sheet   

This Week’s Caterpillar Chevrolet at Las Vegas Motor Speedway … Jeff Burton will race chassis No. 385 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable this weekend. This is a brand new No. 31 Chevrolet Impala that will turn its first laps during opening practice on Friday. 

Career Las Vegas Stats … Sunday’s event marks Burton’s 15th start at the Las Vegas-based facility and 622nd -career Sprint Cup Series entry. He has amassed two wins, five top-five and eight top-10 finishes and has led 280 laps at the 1.5-mile oval. 

Getting Loopy on “The Strip” … Burton has garnered some impressive NASCAR Loop Data statistics at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. His average running position of 11.7 is fifth among active drivers while his 93.5 driver rating is eighth-best. He has made thesecond-most green-flag passes with 465 and 253 of those passes came while running in the top 15 (sixth most). Burton has also spent 1,298 laps (68.7 percent) running in the top 15, ranking him sixth-best among his competitors. 

No Stranger to Victory Lane … Burton claimed back-to-back trophies at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 1999 and 2000 Sprint Cup Series event, leading 167 laps combined. He also has three victories in NASCAR Nationwide Series competition at LVMS in 2000, 2002 (from the pole position) and 2007.

Featured Cat Dealers … Wheeler Machinery Co. and Wyoming Machinery Co. will be featured on the deck lid of the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
  • Established in 1951, Wheeler Machinery Co. is proud to be the Caterpillar dealer of Utah. In addition to Cat products, Wheeler offers trailers, crushing and screening equipment, generators, air compressors, laser and GPS technology products and more. Equipment is available for rent or purchase and is supported by Wheeler’s superb parts and service capabilities. Wheeler is a partner to customers in the construction, landscaping, quarry & aggregate, oil & gas, and mining industries.
  • Wyoming Machinery Company supports three of Wyoming’s major industries – mining, construction, and oil & gas – in addition to many others. Each of their three branches focuses on one or more of these major industries. The Casper facility serves the markets for mining, petroleum, on-highway trucks, construction and governmental business. The Gillette branch supports the mining, petroleum and heavy construction industries. At the Cheyenne branch, the focus is on-highway trucks and general construction. The newest location in Rock Springs is set to open quarter two of 2012. This branch will be similar to the Cheyenne branch with the addition of serving the oil & gas customers in southwest Wyoming.
Rewind to Last Week … After running in the top 15 for 254 of the first 291 laps in Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway, Burton’s No. 31 Wheaties Chevrolet had engine problems and the team was forced to retire early, relegating them to a 33rd-place finish.

Points Racing … Even with the disappointing result on Sunday at PIR, Burton sits 13th in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, xx markers in arrears to point leader Denny Hamlin.

At Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2008 and 2009, you had top-five runs and have had decent success at intermediate tracks in the past. What are your thoughts on going to an intermediate track like Las Vegas?
“Running on intermediate tracks was our weak point last year. We just weren’t good on them for whatever reason. Las Vegas Motor Speedway is typically a place I run well. I haven’t won on the new configuration in the Sprint Cup Series, but I’ve led a lot of laps and been in a position to win several times. It’s a place I fully expect to run well there.” 

How racy is Las Vegas Motor Speedway?
“It’s very racy. I thought they were screwing it up when they put banking in it and repaved it, but they made it better. They did a much better job than I anticipated and it is a much better race track.”

Do you ever look at odds in Las Vegas? What do you think about people who bet on races?
“Have at it! I don’t think the participants should be doing it, but if the fans want to bet on it then I think they should. It’s part of pulling for your favorite driver or pulling against another guy. It’s all about the experience of being in Las Vegas. I don’t think the people involved in this sport should be betting on it by any means, but for the fans, it’s a part of being in Las Vegas.”