Jeb Burton · Wednesday August 28, 2013
We’ve got a lot to talk about since our last diary. Eldora was a while ago, but I think the highlight of the weekend was us winning our heat race. I think we were going to finish around 12th if we hadn’t gotten into that accident toward the end. We just hurt our truck too much and finished 18th. It could have been a lot worse, but it could have been a lot better too. Even though I have a bit of a history on dirt, none of it was really a big help at Eldora. It was just so different—it was totally different than where we test and totally different from anything I’ve ever done. I definitely will be better next year when we go back.
As far as having the dirt races on the schedule goes, I’d really like to have those races if it wasn’t a part of the championship battle. If it was a race that you had to attend but couldn’t lose any points and could just have fun, I’d be happy to see it again. But if it’s points racing, I don’t like it because you’ve got guys coming in to race doing things they shouldn’t be doing, and it makes it a handful for the guys running in the championship battle.
Moving forward to Pocono, we struggled. We weren’t very good at all—we finished 12th there and we were just way too loose. It’s a bit frustrating, actually, because we really thought we would be good there. I guess a bad day for us is inside the top 15 and that’s still pretty good for my rookie season, but we’ve got to get back on track and start leading a lot again. After Pocono, we went to Michigan, got the pole and led 41 laps before I made a mistake in the pits that cost us the win. That was frustrating, but at least we had our speed back.
Last week at Bristol, we struggled again off the truck and were not that good. In qualifying, I was going for the pole, and I got through three and four really well on my warmup lap. But I went down in turn one and was just too loose and spun around. Luckily I didn’t hit anything and still managed to qualify 18th after doing that. We had bad track position and it took us all night to get forward. We still weren’t that good, only running about eighth to 15th all night, and on the last lap, I was running ninth when Ron Hornaday wrecked me and put me in the wall. I ended up finishing 12th—it turned from a decent night to a bad night really quickly.
But with all of that said, it still is nice to call a top 15 finish a bad run. That is one positive about everything—when we’ve been off and not in a crash and just not running well, we’ll run 10th to 15th. That’s not terrible, but it’s just frustrating when you get back there when you’re used to leading every week and running for top 5s. One thing is that I haven’t run a lot of these race tracks before, and they’re building a setup notebook from me while I’m learning the race track. We’ve got two things working against us at the same time, but I think we’re doing a good job. We’re pretty excited about the upcoming road course this weekend. We just really need to start outrunning the 29 truck (Ryan Blaney). He’s right there with us in the rookie points somehow. I think it’s silly that he’s wrecked three or four times and sits ninth in points while I’m third in points and he’s ahead of me in the rookie standings. It just doesn’t make any sense.
In preparation for the road course race at Mosport this weekend, I’m actually running the Canadian Tire race before the truck race to get more acquainted with the track. I think that’s going to help a lot. We get to practice in both the car and the truck on Friday and Saturday. I’m going to be busy this weekend, and I think it will benefit us a lot. We had a good test at VIR a couple weeks ago, and I think we can run top 10—maybe even top 5—this weekend. I think the extra time can only help.
There are rumors running around that I’ll be running full time with Turner next year, but I don’t have any contracts in place just yet. Our plan is to run with them—we have the sponsorship, we just need to sit down at the end of the season and get everything worked out. I’m definitely going to be back in the truck series with Turner Scott—there’s no problem with that. As far as the Nationwide side of things go, we haven’t really figured out what we’re going to do with that yet. We’re going to attend some races next year and hopefully run one coming up soon this year.
With a lot of people saying that NASCAR drivers shouldn’t be running in other series in light of Tony Stewart’s situation, I personally would not have been running sprint cars if I was in his situation. But that’s what he likes to do, and you can’t blame the guy for loving to race. If it was me, I’d just be focused on my main priority, and that’s really what I plan to focus on from now on. It’s just one of those things where you can’t blame a guy for racing, but I think that’s part of what makes someone like Jimmie Johnson so good. He just focuses on the Cup Series—he’s not worried about running Nationwide or Trucks or anything else—he’s just focused on that one vehicle and he shows up every week and is good.
On Tuesday night, I threw out the first pitch at the Arizona Diamondbacks game, and that was pretty cool. I’m a Braves fan myself—ever since I was a little kid, I’ve liked them for some reason and I’ve just stuck with them. They’re my team.
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