Jeff Burton

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Jeff Burton
JeffBurtonAugust2007.jpg
Burton in 2007
Born (1967-06-29) June 29, 1967 (age 47)
South Boston, Virginia, U.S.
Achievements 1999 Southern 500 Winner
1999, 2001 Coca-Cola 600 Winner
Awards 1994 Winston Cup Series Rookie of the Year
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career
693 race(s) run over 22 year(s)
Car no., team No. 66 (Michael Waltrip Racing)
2013 position 20th
Best finish 3rd (2000)
First race 1993 Slick 50 300 (Loudon)
Last race 2014 Camping World RV Sales 301 (Loudon)
First win 1997 Interstate Batteries 500 (Texas)
Last win 2008 Bank of America 500 (Charlotte)
Wins Top tens Poles
21 254 6
NASCAR Nationwide Series career
306 race(s) run over 20 year(s)
Best finish 9th (1992)
First race 1988 Miller Classic (Martinsville)
Last race 2009 Ford 300 (Homestead)
First win 1990 Zerex 150 (Martinsville)
Last win 2007 Ford 300 (Homestead)
Wins Top tens Poles
27 153 11
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career
4 race(s) run over 1 year(s)
Best finish 42nd (1996)
First race 1996 Lund Look 225 (Topeka)
Last race 1996 Hanes 250 (Martinsville)
Wins Top tens Poles
0 3 0
Statistics current as of July 13, 2014.

Jeffrey T. "Jeff" Burton (born June 29, 1967), nicknamed The Mayor,[1] is an American stock car racing driver. He competes part-time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, driving the No. 66 Toyota Camry for Michael Waltrip Racing.

NASCAR career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Burton began driving a handful of races in the Busch Series in 1988 in car number 69 owned by his father John Burton. He competed in the full season for Busch Series Rookie of the Year in 1989 in the #12 Burton Autosports Pontiac In 1990, he drove the #12 Armour Lower Salt Bacon Buick for Sam Ard, where he won his first career race. He moved to J&J Racing's #99 Armour / Food Lion Chevrolet in 1991 for one year before moving on to FILMAR Racing owned by Filbert Martocci where he would drive an Oldsmobile sponsored by TIC Financial Systems in 1992, and a Ford sponsored by Baby Ruth in 1993. Burton would later make his first Winston Cup start in 1993 in car #0 owned by Martocci.

Sprint Cup Series[edit]

1993–1995[edit]

Burton ran his first Winston Cup race in 1993 in the #0 TIC Financial Ford Thunderbird for Fil Martocci. 1994 was Burton's rookie year in the Winston Cup Series, driving the #8 Raybestos Ford for Stavola Brothers Racing. After five races, he reached a season-high 14th place in the overall standings, but by the end of the year he dropped to 24th after being disqualified at the Miller Genuine Draft 400 for illegal holes drilled on the roll cage, a safety violation. He had a season-high fourth place finish on the way to earning 1994 NASCAR Rookie of the Year. He was one of a record-high ten rookies eligible for the award that year, besting a class that included future Cup stars Joe Nemechek, Jeremy Mayfield, John Andretti, and older brother Ward. The next year, in 1995, Burton had one top-five, along with a ninth place finish. He also missed three races and finished 32nd in points.

1996–2000: Exide era[edit]

1997 racecar
Jeff Burton walks to his car for qualifying at Pocono Raceway 1998

In 1996, Burton left the Stavola Brothers for Roush Racing. Driving the #99 Exide Batteries Ford for his new team, he finished 13th overall in the season standings despite failing to qualify for the Purolator 500 in March as a new team (provisionals in the first four races were based on 1995 points, and Burton's team did not have points from 1995). His career hit a peak from 1997 to 2000, as he never finished lower than 5th in the points standings. He achieved his first career win in 1997, finishing first in the Interstate Batteries 500 at Texas Motor Speedway (the inaugural NASCAR race at TMS), and would go on to win 14 more races during the four-year run. In 1999, Burton won a career-high six races, including the Jiffy Lube 300 for a third straight year, and clinched two of the series' four majors (Coca-Cola 600 and the 50th Annual Southern 500), which would lead to a fifth-place finish in points. His best points finish was in 2000, when he finished 3rd, 294 points behind champion Bobby Labonte. On September 17, 2000, Burton led every lap of the Dura Lube 300 sponsored by Kmart at New Hampshire International Speedway, in unique circumstances (this race was the only Loudon race to use a restrictor plate, imposed for safety reasons after the deaths of Adam Petty and Kenny Irwin, Jr. earlier in the year at the track). From 1997 to 2000, Burton won an event at NHIS every year.

2001–2003: CITGO era[edit]

In 2001, Burton and the 99 welcomed a new sponsor CITGO PdVSA. Burton won another two races, upping his career total to 17, and he finished tenth in points, climbing from a season low of 38th, his position after 4 races. In 2002 and 2003, he finished 12th in the points and combined for 8 top-5s and 25 top-10s, but failed to win a race in either year. CITGO PdVSA then announced that it was leaving Roush Racing at the end of the 2003 season.

2004: Departure from Roush and move to Childress[edit]

Burton ran the 2004 season without a primary sponsor, with races frequently being sponsored by his personal sponsor SKF. Rumors began to arise that Burton would be leaving Roush Racing. After originally denying the rumors, it finally happened in mid-2004 when, just before the Sirius at The Glen, Burton signed a three-year contract with Richard Childress Racing (RCR), leaving Roush after eight and a half years with the team. He would drive the #30 America Online Chevrolet for the rest of the season. Before the change, Burton had an average finish of 20.8 and was 23rd in points. In the 13 races after he changed teams, though, the same stats were improved to 16.6 and 18th. During the offseason, Burton and his team remained with RCR but were switched to the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevy, replacing Robby Gordon.

2005–2008: Cingular/AT&T era[edit]

2005 was Burton's first full year at RCR, and he had six top-tens and three top-fives for the year, including a third in the Subway Fresh 500 at Phoenix in April and a second place finish in the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

In 2006, Burton won the pole for four races, bringing his total number of career pole wins to six. The four pole wins were for the Daytona 500, the USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway,[2] the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Prior to qualifying for the Daytona 500, Burton was extremely enthusiastic about the improvements to RCR as a whole. He proved this by winning his first pole since September 2000 at Richmond. The Allstate 400 pole gave Richard Childress Racing the front row as teammate Clint Bowyer recorded the second fastest time. Burton's best finish came in the Chicagoland race where he recorded a second place finish. He led the most laps at Indianapolis and Bristol's Sharpie 500, setting the pace for more than half the race. In the Busch Series, he won at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Dover International Speedway, breaking his four-year winless streak in any series. After the race at Richmond International Raceway Jeff qualified for the Chase for the Nextel Cup. During the Chase, Burton won the Dover 400 at Dover International Speedway, breaking a 185-race winless streak dating back to October 28, 2001, allowing him to take the points lead.[3] However, a series of relatively poor finishes in subsequent races, including a flat tire at Talladega while running in the top five and an engine failure at Martinsville, eliminated Burton from contention for the championship.

Burrton won the Samsung 500 (Texas) on April 15, 2007, driving the Prilosec OTC Chevrolet, passing Matt Kenseth on the final lap, making him the first driver with multiple wins at Texas Motor Speedway. He later went on to qualify for the Chase for the Nextel Cup, he finished tied for 7th in the 2007 standings.

2008 Cup car at Daytona

Burton came very close to winning the 50th running of the Daytona 500. He qualified 36th and by the end of the race had worked his way up in the field. He led prior to the race's final caution, but when the green flag dropped with four laps to go, lost several positions and wound up finishing 13th.

Burton won the 2008 Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Following contact between Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart, Burton passed both Harvick and Stewart for the 2nd position. On the ensuing restart Burton passed Denny Hamlin coming off of Turn 2 to win the Food City 500 and finishing off a sweep of the podium for Richard Childress Racing. Burton also won the 2008 Bank of America 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Burton took the lead from Greg Biffle with just over 70 laps to go. During the final round of pit stops Burton took fuel only and held off a hard charging Jimmie Johnson for his first multiple win season since 2001.

AT&T sponsorship controversy[edit]

Cingular Wireless began its sponsorship of the #31 Chevrolet in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup series prior to 2004, when NEXTEL purchased the naming rights to NASCAR's top division. Cingular and Alltel, sponsor of Ryan Newman's #12 Dodge, were allowed to stay as sponsors under a grandfather clause. In early 2007, following its purchase by AT&T, Cingular began a rebranding effort to the AT&T Mobility brand. NASCAR quickly claimed that a clause in their contract with Sprint Nextel would not allow Cingular to change either the name or brand advertised on the #31 car.

After trying and failing to persuade NASCAR to approve the addition of the AT&T globe logo to the rear of the car, AT&T filed a lawsuit against NASCAR on March 16, 2007. On May 18, AT&T won a preliminary injunction and, following a failed emergency motion for a stay by NASCAR on May 19, rebranded the #31 car in time for the Nextel All-Star Challenge that evening.[4][5] NASCAR was later granted an appeal to be heard on August 2.

On June 17, NASCAR announced it had filed a $100 million lawsuit against AT&T and would like AT&T and all other telecommunications companies out of the sport in 2008. It should be noted that the other rival company involved, Alltel, was in the process of being sold.[6]

2007 paint scheme with an F1-style paint scheme (all AT&T branding removed).

On August 13, a ruling by a federal appeals court cleared the way for NASCAR to prevent AT&T Inc. from featuring its logo on Jeff Burton's No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. The court, therefore, threw out a lower court's ruling that prevented NASCAR from stopping AT&T's plans. The appeals court remanded the case to the U.S. District Court in Atlanta.[7]

At first practice for the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 24, the #31 car had no AT&T branding, but the familiar orange and black paint scheme. Burton's pit crew wore grey Richard Childress Racing shirts and Burton wore a plain orange fire suit displaying only small associate sponsor logos. The car arrived in a black hauler with only the number 31 on the side. NASCAR officials said the car would not have made it through inspection with the AT&T logos.[8]

On September 7, 2007 NASCAR announced that an agreement had been reached between Sprint Nextel and Richard Childress Racing which would allow AT&T to sponsor the No. 31 car through the end of the 2008 season. Under the terms of the agreement Burton will have to find a new sponsor by 2009.[9] On June 18, 2008, it was announced that RCR had secured sponsorship for the 31 of Jeff Burton. Caterpillar, which previously spent 10 years on the #22 of Bill Davis Racing and with Jeff's brother Ward driving from 1999–2003, has signed a multi-year agreement with Richard Childress Racing to become the new primary sponsor of the 31 starting in 2009.[10]

2009–2013: Caterpillar era[edit]

Burton had a new sponsor on the No. 31, after Caterpillar was signed through 2011. Burton was expected to make a run for the championship but a poor season lead Burton to miss the Chase, the first time since 2005. Burton's best finish that year was a 3rd at Las Vegas Motor Speedway because he stayed out at the last caution.

Burton during the 2013 STP Gas Booster 500

In 2010 he rebounded but he had still not won a race, though he made the Chase. He nearly won the fall Martinsville but a flat tire with 15 laps to go gave Denny Hamlin the win. A couple weeks later he and Jeff Gordon got into a wreck long after the caution was out. Burton walked up the track to confront Gordon and the two got into a shoving match. Burton finished 12th in the final standings. Afterwards, Burton assumed responsibility for the incident, stating he was attempting to catch up to Gordon, but was unable to see in the sunlight's glare.[11]

In 2011, Burton was looking for a better year than in 2010. But a very bad season gave Burton a poor series of finishes. He won the second Gatorade Duel, edging out his Richard Childress Racing teammate Clint Bowyer. After that, Burton's season went downhill from there. He was leading the Daytona 500 halfway when his engine gave out. He nearly won the Coca-Cola 600 but got spun out on the final restart. Though wanting another caution, the yellow flag never came out because NASCAR wanted to see the race finish under green, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. was leading when the accident occurred. His teammate Kevin Harvick passed Earnhardt Jr. within the last 500 yards of the race, because Dale Jr. ran out of gas. This led to controversy because fans were speculating that NASCAR wanted Earnhardt to win and go back to victory lane in the first time in three years. Burton's first top 10 came in the twenty first race at Watkins Glen International. Burton missed the 2011 Chase but had a strong run at the fall race at Talladega, leading on the last lap and out of turn four being pushed by Clint Bowyer. At the tri-oval, Bowyer slingshotted to Burton's outside and won by a hood, giving Richard Childress his 100th win as a team owner, Bowyer redeeming his 0.002 second loss to Jimmie Johnson at the track in the spring. In 2012, Burton gained the sponsorship in Wheaties, BB&T and EnerSys. The 31 team also switched crew chiefs too, and Drew Blickensderfer became the crew chief. After a dismal 2012, Blickensderfer was released 4 races early and Luke Lambert became Burton's crew chief in 2013. Shane Wilson became interim crew chief until the end of 2012. Burton has 5 Top 10's in 2012. At the AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, Burton will make his 1,000th career NASCAR start, the sixth driver in NASCAR history to do so.[12]

On September 4, 2013, Richard Childress Racing announced that Burton would not be returning to RCR in 2014.[13] On November 8, Burton stated that he would run a part-time schedule in 2014.[12]

2014-2015: Part-time with MWR & Move to Television[edit]

On December 2, 2013, it was announced that Burton had been hired by Michael Waltrip Racing, running a limited schedule in the team's No. 66 Toyota Camry as a research-and-development driver.[14] Burton made his debut with MWR at the 2014 Kobalt 400.[15]

On December 3, 2013, NBC Sports Network producer Sam Flood announced that Burton will become an analyst for NBC in 2015.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Burton is the younger brother of Ward Burton, who is a former Sprint Cup driver. Married to wife Kim, they have two children: Paige and Harrison. Burton also has another brother, Brian, who did not drive in NASCAR but rather took over the family's construction business. Burton currently resides in Huntersville, North Carolina.

Motorsports career results[edit]

NASCAR[edit]

(key) (Bold - Pole position awarded by qualifying time. Italics - Pole position earned by points standings or practice time. * – Most laps led.)

Sprint Cup Series[edit]

Craftsman Truck Series[edit]

* Season in progress
1 Ineligible for series points

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jim. "Driver Profile: Jeff Burton, NASCAR’s "Mayor"". Bump-drafts.com. Retrieved 2011-11-26. 
  2. ^ "Burton wins pole in Chicagoland qualifying". USA Today. 2006-07-09. Retrieved 2013-07-04. 
  3. ^ Nascar.Com (2006-09-24). "Dover 400 Lap-by-Lap". Nascar.com. Retrieved 2011-11-26. 
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ [2][dead link]
  6. ^ "NASCAR News – Breaking News, Insight and Analysis on". Nascar.com. Retrieved 2011-11-26. 
  7. ^ By Harry R. Weber, The Associated Press (2007-08-13). "Appeals court sides with NASCAR in AT&T dispute – Aug 13, 2007". Nascar.Com. Retrieved 2011-11-26. 
  8. ^ "As the logo turns: Burton's car missing AT&T again – Racing – ESPN". Sports.espn.go.com. 2007-08-24. Retrieved 2011-11-26. 
  9. ^ David Caraviello (2007-09-07). "AT&T logos go back on RCR's No. 31 at Richmond". Nascar.com. Retrieved 2011-11-26. 
  10. ^ "Jeff Burton picks up Caterpillar as primary sponsorship for No. 31". Racewayreport.com. Retrieved 2011-11-26. 
  11. ^ Pennell, Jay (April 30, 2014). "Rope-a-dope: The five worst fights in NASCAR history". Foxsports.com. Retrieved April 30, 2014. 
  12. ^ a b Marshall, John (November 7, 2013). "Jeff Burton will race part time in 2014". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved November 7, 2013. 
  13. ^ Gluck, Jeff (September 4, 2013). "Jeff Burton riding out 'scary, exciting time'". USA Today. McLean, VA. Retrieved 2013-09-04. 
  14. ^ Williams, Heather (December 2, 2013). "Jeff Burton will drive part-time for MWR in 2014". KWCH. Wichita, KS. Retrieved 2013-12-02. 
  15. ^ Albert, Zack (March 4, 2014). "JEFF BURTON READY FOR LAS VEGAS ROLLOUT". NASCAR. Retrieved 2014-03-04. 
  16. ^ Caraviello, David (December 3, 2013). "Burton to join NBC broadcast team in 2015". NASCAR. Retrieved 2013-12-03. 

External links[edit]

Achievements
Preceded by
Jeff Gordon
NASCAR Rookie of the Year
1994
Succeeded by
Ricky Craven