Burton Looking to End on High Note

Jeff Burton

Burton was second and seventh, respectively, in best 10 consecutive lap average in Saturday's practice sessions. (Photo: Getty Images)

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HOMESTEAD, Fla. - Jeff Burton led the final practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford 400 and is looking to end the season on a high note after a disappointing performance in the Chase.

The driver of the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet comes into Homestead-Miami Speedway 12th in the point standings after a string of three finishes outside the top 15 and a 20.3 average finish in the nine races in the Chase.

"It’s been a real frustrating Chase," Burton said. "Obviously for us, at the same I hate to see the year end. I feel like the more we race, the better we would be. This is it and we need to go out on a big note.”

Burton, who will start 14th on Sunday, has one more shot to enter the win column this season and end a 76-race winless streak that dates back to October 11, 2008 at Charlotte.

"It’s been a year with a lot of promise, but a lot of those haven’t been fulfilled," Burton said. "This is our last chance and that’s kind of what we go into it with the mindset of – we need to win this race."

After failing to make the Chase last season, Burton ended 2009 on a positive note by finishing second in the Ford 400. The performance might have transitioned over into this year, but Burton says the team, and him, still need to work on several areas.

“We have to have better pit stops," Burton said. "I have to do a better job at making decisions on the race track. Todd’s (Berrier, crew chief) got to do a better job at making decisions on the pit box. We collectively have got to find a way to bring the speed to all the weekends that we have on some of the weekends. These are big factors, but those are the things that jump out to me that we need to be better at.

"I really think that we can go fast enough to win the championship next year, but we’ve got to find the little speed that we lost through the summer. We showed it at Phoenix, we showed it at Martinsville, but we haven’t shown it on the big tracks as of late and we’ve got to get that back.”

So far Burton has been able to find speed around the 1.5-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway. Not only did he lead the final practice with a lap of 169.545 mph, but he also held down the second-fastest lap (171.587 mph) and second-best 10 consecutive lap average at 167.899 mph in Saturday's opening practice. For a complete look at the practice Speeds for the Ford 400 click here.

MRN Radio's coverage of Sunday's Ford 400 will begin at Noon ET.

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