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Summer Bedgood · Wednesday September 4, 2013
Jeff Burton will be leaving Richard Childress Racing at the end of the 2013 season, a team where he was won four of his 21 career victories. Though sponsor Caterpillar is expected to stay behind, Burton and teammate Richard Childress both said the timing was right for the change.
“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.
“We have been working hard to try and get all the funding in place to have four Sprint Cup teams in 2014,” said Childress “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.”
During a mid-day teleconference, Burton expressed interest in running a partial schedule next season, though it won’t be with RCR. A driver highly speculated to race for RCR next season is Ryan Newman, who is leaving Stewart Haas Racing at season’s end. Newman’s name was already in the mix to race for RCR after it was announced that Kevin Harvick would be taking his seat at SHR.
Burton’s last win with the team came in the fall race at Charlotte Motor Speedway back in 2008. Burton made the Chase for the Sprint Cup that season, but hasn’t finished higher than 12th in the points since then. He is currently 22nd in points after 25 races this season with an average finish of 20th.
A possible driver lineup for RCR next year could be Austin Dillon in the No. 3 car, Paul Menard in the No. 27, and Ryan Newman in a third car. RCR has yet to make an announcement on their full driver lineup for the 2014 season.
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