Burton back for Pocono test, Michigan race
May 25, 2014, Staff report, NASCAR.com
Veteran driving part-time schedule, commentating for NBC
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Jeff Burton will be back behind the wheel in the coming weeks, first for a test Tuesday at Pocono Raceway and then for the Sprint Cup Series event in June at Michigan International Speedway.
Burton is running a limited schedule for Michael Waltrip Racing as he transitions from the driver's seat to the analyst's booth. A 21-time winner at the sport's top level, Burton began working for NBC Sports this season, and will be part of the team that calls Sprint Cup races when the peacock network returns as a NASCAR broadcast partner in 2015.
For the moment, though, he's still turning some laps for Michael Waltrip Racing, the team he'll test for Tuesday at Pocono. Burton will also drive a MWR entry in the Sprint Cup race at Michigan on June 15. Burton has made one start for MWR this season, at Las Vegas in March, where he finished 17th.
"I've really enjoyed the situation I'm in, I really have. When (NBC executive producer) Sam Flood and I first sat down and talked, one of the things that he asked me was, 'Are you going to be ready to do this?' I told him I was, and I thought I was, but to be absolutely honest, how do you really know? It's all I've ever done, and it's been such a huge part of my life," said Burton, whose full-time racing career ended after last season, his final campaign with Richard Childress Racing.
"But I have transitioned very nicely. I'm very comfortable, I enjoy the people I work with. I think one of the things people don’t understand is, it's still a team, right? ... So we're all working together and trying to be the best we can. Although it's a different competition, it's still competition. I've really enjoyed it. I've enjoyed my role at MWR. I think that's been good for me, and honestly, that's what I've always been good at, helping teams work. Being part of MWR has been good for me as well. So yeah, I'm really happy with where I am, and I'm transitioning nicely."
Other drivers expected to participate in the Pocono test are Justin Allgaier, Michael Annett, Clint Bowyer, Austin Dillon, Kyle Larson, Jamie McMurray, Paul Menard, Ryan Newman, Reed Sorenson, Martin Truex Jr. and Brian Vickers. The Pennsylvania track hosts the first of its two annual Sprint Cup races in June 8.