This week’s No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet … Jeff Burton will race chassis No. 296 in the second Budweiser Duel and Daytona 500. This chassis was utilized last season in the Daytona 500 by Burton and saw action at multiple restrictor-plate events during the 2010 and 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series seasons with driver Clint Bowyer.
Burton at “The World Center of Racing” … Burton’s has 38 starts at Daytona International Speedway with one win (July 2000), nine top-five and 11 top-10 finishes. Burton also scored the pole position for the 2006 Daytona 500 and has led 145 laps at the historic 2.5-mile superspeedway.
Featured Caterpillar Dealers … Pon CAT, Ring Power CAT and Toromont CAT will be featured on the deck lid of the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet this weekend in the Daytona 500.
Before the main event … The Budweiser Duels at Daytona feature two 150-mile races which will determine the final starting grid for the Daytona 500. By virtue of qualifying 20th in last Sunday’s Daytona 500 qualifying session, Burton will start 10th in the second race on Thursday, Feb. 21.
New faces in 2013 … Luke Lambert returns to the No. 31 pitbox in Sprint Cup Series competition after spending 17 races as interim crew chief of the No. 31 team to finish the 2011 season. Most recently, Lambert served as crew chief on the No. 2 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Nationwide Series leading driver Elliott Sadler to four wins, four pole awards, 15 top-five and 24 top-10 finishes en route to a second-place finish in driver championship point standings. Veteran Keith Barnwell will also join the No. 31 team as Burton’s primary spotter for the 2013 season.
Restrictor-plate ringer … Over the past five points-paying restrictor-plate events at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway, Burton has tallied five consecutive top-10 finishes including a runner-up effort in the Coke Zero 400 at DIS last July.
How big is the Daytona 500 for you as a driver? “We’ve been close to winning so many restrictor-plate races lately at Daytona (International Speedway) and Talladega (Superspeedway) the last few years. We actually came really close here at Daytona last July and finished second. The Daytona 500 is huge. To win the Daytona 500 after my brother (Ward) won it in 2002 would be a really cool family feat. With our children working up through the racing ranks, if we could build a family legacy of winning the Daytona 500, that would be really special.”
-Richard Childress Racing PR