Jeff Burton delivered a solid performance in his second straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start as the interim driver of the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR).
Subbing for regular driver Tony Stewart, Burton started 25th and ran as high as fourth before finishing 15th in the Irwin Tools Night Race Saturday at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
“We had a fast car till about 150 to go,” said Burton after making his 41st career Sprint Cup start at Bristol. “We got some nose damage and we weren’t good after that. But I’m proud of the effort of everyone on this Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 team.”
Burton used his fast racecar to pick up 10 positions in the race’s first 160 laps. A savvy strategy call by crew chief Chad Johnston to stay out during a caution period from lap 196 to lap 200 allowed Burton to leapfrog his way to fourth. With clear racetrack in front of him, Burton rattled off his quickest laps of the race.
However, after a pit stop during a caution period on lap 361, the handling of the No. 14 machine went away. A hole in the nose of the Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevy seemed to be the culprit, as the beating and banging that accompanies racing around Bristol’s .533-mile bullring seemingly spares no one. Despite being a short track, aerodynamics still play a role at Bristol, and the gaping hole in the No. 14 car’s nose drastically affected its handling.
Johnston took advantage of a caution on lap 434 to repair the nose via ample amounts of tape, and when racing resumed, Burton wheeled the Bass Pro Shops/Mobil1 Chevy to a respectable top-15 result.