Burton slow to reveal '14 plans
November 09, 2013, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com
AVONDALE, Ariz. -- Jeff Burton says he plans on racing in 2014. He doesn't say how much he plans to race or for whom. Only that he expects to be back behind the wheel.
"I feel that I know what I am going to be doing," Burton said Friday at Phoenix International Raceway, laughing. "It's just you all don't know.
"Some things have taken a little longer than I thought they would take and some of that is because of me. Some of that is because I slowed some stuff down and wanted to really think about it. Some of it is because some situations have popped up that weren’t there a little bit ago.
"I feel very confident. I know exactly what I’m going to be doing part of next year and there is another part of it that I’m still working on, but really close on. I’m just not the kind of person that is going to talk about it until we need to be talking about it.”
Whatever his plans are, racing in NASCAR's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is included.
"Yes, part of it," he said.
Burton made his 1,000th NASCAR start on Sunday. The South Boston, Va., native has 690 starts at the Cup level, 306 in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and four in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. He has 21 wins in Cup, 27 in Nationwide.
The 46-year-old will have no seat at Richard Childress Racing for 2014, his place of employment since the second half of the 2004 season. Prior to joining RCR, he spent the 1996 through most of '04 with Roush Racing, following a two-year stint driving for Bill and Mickey Stavola.
He scored his first career Cup win in Texas (1997) and has won on a wide variety of tracks during his career -- from the short tracks of Martinsville and Bristol to larger venues of Darlington, Charlotte and Daytona.
"I’ve been really blessed to do it for as long as I’ve done it," said Burton. "When I was 7 years old I wanted to be a race car driver. I’m 46 and I’m a race car driver. I’ve just been really blessed.
"The cool thing is I’ve met so many people and experienced so many things that I never would have been able to do. To have a chance to compete for a living is really is a cool thing. You know what your job is and go out and try to do it. Competing to me means something. To be able to do it this long has been really cool.”
Burton has finished 10th or better in the points standings eight times, including a career-best third in 2000. A four-time participant in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, he is currently 19th in points.
Personable, articulate and respected in and out of the garage area, Burton has been mentioned as a potential candidate for the television booth, particularly with NBC Sports, which obtained the rights to air the final 20 Sprint Cup races annually beginning in 2015.
Burton said the forthcoming change from full-time competitor has provided the opportunity "step back a little bit and take myself out of the mental habit of being at the race track every single weekend and look at things from a broader view.
"Kind of 'hey what else is out there in the racing world' so to speak," he said. "The last several months have been really interesting. I have been offered some things that were just crazy that I can’t talk about today, but there were some really interesting things that have come my way.
"We will see. I will be involved in the sport. There is a place for me. I want to be here. I feel like I can contribute so I would be surprised if five years from now I wasn’t still involved in the sport.”