Burton Leaving No. 31 Team After 2013
September 4, 2013 | 12:26 P.M. EST
Burton has driven for RCR since 2005. (Photo: Getty Images)
Editor's Note: Check back for a story following a 1 p.m. teleconference.
Jeff Burton, driver of the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing, has announced he will not be driving that car after the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Burton, 46, has driven for RCR since 2005.
The native of South Boston, Va., has won four of his 21 Cup victories with the team. He also earned seven NASCAR Nationwide Series wins with RCR and was an integral part of their 2007 NNS Owner's Championship.
"I strongly believe in the No. 31 team as to what we can achieve this year, and for the team in seasons to follow," Burton said. "However, the financial realities for next year were obvious to both Richard (Childress) and me. So, we talked about it and both made the decision to make this move for the team's future.
"I would like to thank the dealers, customers and employees of Caterpillar for all we've achieved together. You can't ask for a better and more supportive sponsor than those people, and it's been an honor to wear their black and yellow colors on my uniform."
Caterpillar will continue to sponsor the No. 31 Chevrolet.
"Jeff has been a true professional in every sense of the word," said Greg Towles, Cat Racing Program Director. "On behalf of Caterpillar dealers, customers and Cat employees, we thank Jeff for his commitment to the No. 31 team and the Cat Racing program."
A new driver for the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet will be named in the future. Ryan Newman is one of the leading candidates for the ride.
"We have been working hard to try and get all the funding in place to have four Sprint Cup teams in 2014," said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. "With the date on the calendar getting closer to 2014, we just couldn't run partially funded teams next year. Knowing what Jeff's plans were in 2015, he and I worked out an agreement for him to step out of the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet after this season. Jeff has been nothing but a professional driver, an asset to RCR and a great person for our organization since coming on board in 2005.
"Jeff has also been a great ambassador for Caterpillar and the other partners we've had on the car throughout the years. I can't thank him and Caterpillar enough for how great they've been as we work through this transition.
"We intend to finish out 2013 in a strong way and I look forward to the possibility of Jeff still being part of RCR in the near future, just not driving the No. 31 car. I have been watching his son, Harrison, and the success he's having. Hopefully, we can have another Burton in one of our cars someday."