NASCAR News Tidbits for Dec. 2nd
It's only natural that, in the final weeks of 2013, NASCAR racing teams are going to be extremely busy preparing for the new racing season that is literally just around the corner. After all, those vital test sessions, during Speed Weeks at Daytona, will be seeing a green flag in January. Included in that final preparation process is the hiring of new personnel, those talented people that will hopefully present team owners with that extra edge in 2014.
We have known for quite some time that NASCAR Sprint Cup veteran Jeff Burton was not going to return to his familiar #31 Chevrolet and Richard Childress Racing. At the time of that announcement no one, including Burton himself, was exactly sure of what his future in NASCAR racing was. In early October, Burton dropped some hints that said he was talking to some people and felt like a deal was in the works but would not elaborate any further.
Now we know the answer: it's Michael Waltrip Racing, (MWR). On the morning of December 2nd, MWR issued a press release announcing that Burton was joining their organization:
"Michael Waltrip Racing announced it has contracted Jeff Burton to test and drive in a select number of races during the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season in the #66 Toyota Camry. Burton, a 21-time winner in the Sprint Cup Series begins testing for MWR Dec. 9 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The first scheduled NASCAR Sprint Cup race for Burton will be the March 9 race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. In the upcoming weeks, MWR will announce any other events added to Burton's schedule.
MWR will field the #15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry with driver Clint Bowyer and the #55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry with driver Brian Vickers in 2014. Burton will test for Vickers until late January when Vickers returns from medical leave.
Team Co-Owner Rob Kauffman said Burton will help MWR both on and off the track. "Michael Waltrip Racing has two teams and drivers racing for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship in 2014 and our third team will play a very important role in that pursuit," said Kauffman. "We were extremely fortunate to have a driver as experienced and respected as Jeff Burton come available. He will be able to have an immediate impact as we continue to strive for that last one percent that separates champions from contenders." Michael Waltrip will drive the #66 in the Daytona 500 on Feb. 23 as he seeks his third victory in the sport's most prestigious event.
SPEAKING OF A MWR DRIVER TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS.
A NATIONAL RETAIL CHAIN RAISES ITS NASCAR INVESTMENT.
A CREW CHIEF CHANGE FIT FOR A KING.
A NASCAR IRONMAN SERIOUSLY TAKES CARE OF BUSINESS.
SOME RATHER IMPRESSIVE GEN-6 STATS.
5. The number of drivers who won in 2013 after going winless in 2012: Brian Vickers, Carl Edwards, David Ragan, Jamie McMurray and Martin Truex Jr.
17. The number of different winners this season, up from 15 different winners last season. The modern era record for different winners in a season is 19.
19. The number of track qualifying records broken this season.
20. The number of races that ended with a margin of victory less than one second, up from 17 races last season.
51.2 The percentage of cars that finished on the lead lap, the highest mark since 2009.
83.1 The percentage of cars that were running at the finish of races, up from 74.7 percent in 2012.
127,306 The number of Green Flag Passes, the second highest total since the inception of Loop Data in 2005 -- and 17,398 more passes than 2012.
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