Burton returns to the Magic Mile

Jeff Burton made his return to the No. 66 Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) Toyota this weekend at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS).  Sunday was Burton’s first Sprint Cup Series race since Las Vegas in March where he finished 17th.

“I thought we had a really good test here (at New Hampshire),” he said.  “Our race run stuff was really strong and worked on a lot of different stuff.  We settled on a package we liked.”

Burton wheeled the 66 car to a 30th place qualifying effort Friday, but felt that the car would be better during the race.

“I think in race trim, that kind falls in my wheelhouse a little bit and get into a rhythm and dissect the car a little more,” Burton added.  “I’ve never been a really good qualifier anyway and the last time I qualified was at Vegas and to come out here and do it is harder than people think.”

The Virginia driver was originally scheduled to drive the No. 66 at Michigan in June, but plans change to put rookie Brett Moffitt in the car there and let Burton run the car at one of his more successful tracks.

Burton has four Cup wins at NHMS and to race there again is very special.

“A lot of my career has been shaped at this race track,” Burton said.  “This place matters to me.”

Out of all his wins at NNS and Cup at Loudon, none of them sticks out to the future NASCAR on NBC analyst.

The Camping World RV Sales 301 on Sunday was a good chance that it may have been Burton’s last Cup race in his NASCAR career.

“I think it’s a good chance it’s my last race,” he added.  “I’m ok with that.  I’m really comfortable with what I’m doing.  If this is my last race, it’s actually pretty cool for it to be here.

Burton’s Sprint Cup Series plan in 2014 was to run six to nine races.  With the potential rule changes coming for next year, it altered his schedule a little.

With NHMS being a special place for him, Burton also talked about running some other tracks he’d like to race at.

“This is certainly one of them,” he said.  “Here and Richmond, but honestly I’d be a little nervous going to Richmond with as much as going to be on the line and getting in the middle of that foray when I haven’t raced a whole lot.”

Burton felt comfortable getting back in the race car at Loudon this weekend.

“I was real comfortable in the car,” he said.  “It’s a big difference between going out and running one lap and trying to get the speed out of it.  I tend to cross the grip barrier before I know I’m going to and that’s just because I don’t have that developed feel throughout the whole year.

Burton drove the car to a 20th-place finish in Sunday’s race and whether or not the Cup veteran will run another race will be on the heels of MWR and their plans for the No. 66 car.

Kyle Magda