Burton Bouncing Back to Competitiveness
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on November 14, 2011 | 2:38 P.M. EST
"Nobody has quit on this team, not once. I’m real proud of that.” (Photo: Getty Images)
AVONDALE, Ariz. - Jeff Burton continued his recent string of success with a fourth place finish in Sunday's Kobalt Tools 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.
The Richard Childress Racing driver was pleased with the effort of his team as well as the preparation that has helped him begin to turn around a long drought that has seen Burton go winless for more than three years.
"Real proud of everybody," said Burton. "When things are tough, you find out what people are made of. My group has just kept digging and kept their heads up. I'm real proud of everybody. Nobody has quit on this team, not once. I’m real proud of that.”
Burton says there is no magic formula responsible for the resurgence of the No. 31 Chevrolet team. He attributes it to the solid team put together by owner Richard Childress and their diligence in finding a way to make things better.
“We have always worked hard and we didn’t get in this hole because of one person," said Burton. "We were just looking at things wrong. We’ve started changing how we are looking at things. I’ve gotten a little more involved in trying to understand exactly what is in the cars because that is really a departure for me not to be involved. So, I’ve become a little more involved.
"But that hasn’t had much to do with it other than me understanding what is in the car. I think that does matter. So, just a lot of work; a lot of effort and everybody is just hitting the right buttons right now.”
With only one race left in the season next weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway and the Ford 400, Burton is looking to follow up his Phoenix effort with another good performance in South Florida.
Ending the season on an upswing could help Burton carry valuable momentum into the 2012 season and help get his team off to a much better start than the one they were dealt in 2011.
“Well I hope so," Burton said. "I think we are learning. I know this sounds silly but we learned an awful lot of about what not to do earlier in the year and it just took us forever to recover from it. We started working on things that just weren’t the right things to work on and now we’re starting to work on stuff that is making a difference.
"This sport is hard. It wasn’t one person’s fault. We collectively weren’t doing a good job as a team but real proud of everybody with the Caterpillar Chevrolet and real proud of all of sponsors. Caterpillar, Chevrolet, SKF, Menards…everybody…Coca-Cola for sticking with us. This has been very difficult for us and them too. But they’ve all stuck with us and I'm real excited and proud of that. Makes me want to work harder for them.”
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