Burton: “This was a hard week”

August 17, 2014 No Comments

175-1byend.AuSt.138Brian Wiggins, Senior Writer 

BROOKLYN,MI— Driving Tony Stewart’s No.14 Chevrolet in Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400, Jeff Burton’s day did not go as planned.

After working his way up to fourth under green-flag pit stops, Burton’s day turned sour after an engine issue forced the No.14 Chevrolet behind the wall.

“I started smelling something and then just before we pitted I got a lot of smoke in the cockpit,” Burton said. “When we pitted they could see all the smoke all over the place. We really don’t know. It’s something electrical for sure. We can’t quite find it out yet.  Something is burnt up, just don’t really know what.”

Stewart missed his second-consecutive race following the tragic event at Canadiauga Motorsports Park in New York in which Kevin Ward Jr. was struck by Stewart’s car in a sprint car race. 

It was announced Thursday evening that Burton, who had last raced at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July for Michael Waltrip Racing, would drive in place of Stewart this weekend.

“This was a hard week.  This was honestly one of the hardest weeks I’ve ever spent, coming here on Friday not knowing what to expect,” Burton said after going behind the wall.

“I thought everybody did a really good job.  Put a great effort out there.  I did a terrible job on the restarts.  Once we got in clean traffic we were maybe a tenth off the leader.  We had really good pace the car drove well.  I was really encouraged by the one change we made.  The car was fast.  We were running 16’s or 17’s or something, but we had a much faster car than that.  Just my inexperience in traffic hurt us some.”

Burton ultimately finished Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 in thirty-seventh, twenty-four laps down.

“Racing is a community,” Burton said about the situation. “I don’t know the Ward family at all, but I know that they raced and that means that I share something in common with them.  The racing community cares about each other even if they don’t know you they still care about you.

” I think that is what we saw this week. Of course everybody in this garage knows Tony (Stewart).  Tony doesn’t beat his chest and talk about the things he does for people.  We know it, we see it, but nobody else does.  (Dale) Earnhardt (Sr.) was like that, Earnhardt didn’t want anybody to know they things he did for people.  That is how Tony is and that is something a lot of people they only know Tony because he threw a helmet.  They only know Tony because he got mad.  Well hell I get mad too.  I just hate people jump to conclusions.”

As for Stewart’s status for next weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway, it has not been determined whether Stewart will race or whether Burton will remain the substitute driver if Stewart does miss next weekend’s event.


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