Burton may try Indy 500

With rumblings that the Nextel Cup Series "Silly Season" of driver hirings and firings could be ready to kick into gear, Ward Burton made an appearance at Texas Motor Speedway yesterday. The South Boston, Va., native was announcing a new marketing partnership between his wildlife foundation and Beretta that will promote firearm safety for kids, but he also spent several minutes answering questions about his NASCAR future. An Internet report yesterday linked the 43-year-old with possibly replacing Jason Leffler in the #11 Chevrolet of Joe Gibbs Racing. With the impending retirements of Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin, and the expected departure of veterans such as Sterling Marlin from established teams, several other quality rides could be open by the end of the year. Burton, who has stayed busy managing his Halifax County preserve, doing charity work and developing an outdoors show for TV, said he wasn't in serious discussions with any team. He reportedly has been offered rides in the Cup, Busch and Truck series. "I won't come back if the right situation isn't there," he said. "I won't say Cup is my only choice, but it's the only one I'm considering." Burton said he also had been contacted about attempting the Indianapolis 500. Richmond Times Dispatch

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