Jeff Burton Needs to Catch a Big Texas Finish

Jeff Burton and crew chief Drew Blickensderfer
Photo – Richard Childress Racing

Some drivers simply can’t catch a break and Jeff Burton would certainly fall into that category.

The 2012 season still has much potential as the #31 team at Richard Childress Racing has shown some strength through the seasons’ first six races. However, it’s not gone smoothly for this team as they’ve experienced several issues to start the year.

Going into the season, the expectations were to contend on a weekly basis. Burton handpicked crew chief Drew Blickensderfer to lead the #31 team in 2012 after a miserable 2011, his worst season since 1995. Burton and Blickensderfer had come to know one another during events when their sons would race against one another. So even though the combination was new to start the season, there was already familiarity with one another and an expectation to succeed.

After a strong start to the season with a 5th place finish in the Daytona 500, Burton followed that up with a potential top-ten run in Phoenix. While running 8th in the closing laps, the engine expired on the #31 Chevrolet forcing the team to take an early exit from the event, leaving Burton with a disappointing 33rd for the day.

In hopes of rebounding, the team went to Las Vegas with confidence and a brand new car. The race was a difficult one as the team battled ill-handling conditions throughout the day, but still managed a 14th place finish.

After Las Vegas, it was off to Bristol where the #31 team had a very solid outing. Despite starting the event near the rear of the field, the team used pit strategy early in the event to propel themselves to the top-ten. From there, they never looked back running in the top-five or just outside that throughout the day, bringing home a nice 6th place finish.

BB&T #31 Chevrolet,
driven by Jeff Burton at Martinsville
Photo – Richard Childress Racing

However, the next two races were not quite according to plan. Another ill-handling car at California relegated the team to a disappointing 22nd place finish, then an electrical issue led to another 22nd place finish at Martinsville, despite having a good car and running in and around the top-ten for most of the race.

So now, Burton and the #31 team head to Texas in need of a good finish to move up from their current 15th place position in the point standings. Texas has been a hit or miss track for Burton, but he does have two Sprint Cup wins there as well as information gained at a tire test from earlier this year.

Over the off weekend, Burton plans to spend some time fishing but perhaps an even bigger catch – than any fish he caught – would be a win at Texas next week.


2 thoughts on “Jeff Burton Needs to Catch a Big Texas Finish

  1. Nice Work Andrew! Would love to see JB win at Texas next weekend. Not a 100% sure about this – But if he does win – I think he'd be the first with three wins at TMS.

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