Over the course of his 25-year career in NASCAR's highest levels, Jeff Burton has seen plenty of development in modern racing machinery. Body styles, aerodynamics, safety measures -- all evolved over the better part of two decades, but until recently, all those stock cars had a common thread: carburetors.
That changed at the start of the 2012 season. The advent of electronic fuel injection (EFI) in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tipped the scales toward a more advanced race car, changing the face of competition in NASCAR's premier series. In doing so, the engine technology gave a nod to the cars' street-legal counterparts, a potentially necessary move before more product relevance could be achieved with the 2013 debut of the sixth generation of Sprint Cup car.
"I do think the product is better when it's kept simple, but I believe we also kept it too simple for too long," Burton said of the carburetion era. "NASCAR always wanted it to be as simple as could be so that more teams could be competitive, and that's a good theory, but this is a different time. Today's young people, or even today's older people, are so much more tech-savvy that to be around carburetors is a bit ancient. So it's definitely a step in the right direction. These cars need to be more technologically advanced."