Burton nearing Sprint Cup deal for 2014
October 08, 2013, David Caraviello, NASCAR.com
MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Jeff Burton is nearing a deal that will keep him in NASCAR's premier series next season.
The veteran driver is splitting after this year with Richard Childress Racing, the organization that's been his home since late in the 2004 campaign. Ryan Newman is taking over the team's No. 31 car beginning next season, and not enough funding was available to field a fourth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entry for Burton.
During a break in testing Tuesday at Martinsville Speedway, the 21-time Cup race winner said he's close to a deal that will keep him at the Sprint Cup level next season -- though he declined to specify exactly where.
"I actually have a lot of clarity, I just can't talk about it just yet," he said. "I can almost talk about it, but I just can't. I don’t know when I'll be able to -- it's going to be a couple of weeks. A lot of stuff happened toward the end of last week and into (Monday). So yeah, it's getting real clear to me what's going to be going on. But I'm just not at the liberty to discuss it right now."
Burton did confirm the ride would be at the Sprint Cup level. The most noteworthy team with a driver opening at present is Furniture Row Racing, which made the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup this year with Kurt Busch, who is moving on to Stewart-Haas Racing at season's end. Phoenix Racing and Swan Racing also have yet to name drivers for 2014, although the latter organization has primarily targeted younger candidates for its seat.
Burton was one of 11 Sprint Cup drivers testing at Martinsville in preparation for the track's Chase event on Oct. 27. The 46-year-old native of South Boston, Va., has been as fixture at NASCAR's highest level since 1994, spending a long tenure at what is now Roush Fenway Racing before moving to RCR. His last victory came at Charlotte in 2008.
His next career move will come amid a youth movement that will see drivers like Kyle Larson and Austin Dillon move into the Sprint Cup ranks full-time beginning next season.
"I think it's important to have young guys coming in. I think it’s important to have older, experienced guys in here as well," Burton said. "It's a natural rotation. … I think it's important to have both."