When Jeff Burton announced a little more than a month ago he wouldn’t be racing with Richard Childress Racing in the No. 31 Chevrolet in 2014, I took that as a sign that his full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series days could be over at age 46.
I’m now baking my humble pie in the oven in case I have to eat it. And I wouldn’t mind doing so.
Burton said during a NASCAR test at Martinsville Speedway today that he is close to a ride at the Cup level, but declined to provide further specifics.
“I can almost talk about it, but I just can’t,” Burton told NASCAR.com Tuesday. “A lot of stuff happened toward the end of last week and into (Monday). So yeah, it’s getting real clear to me what’s going to be going on. But I’m just not at the liberty to discuss it right now.”
Potential options could be the still vacant No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet, left by Kurt Busch and turned down by Juan Pablo Montoya, or the former Phoenix Racing No. 51 Chevrolet now operated by Harry Scott Jr.
It remains to be seen whether this is just posturing or legitimate, but it will be interesting to watch for the next couple weeks.
So much of Danica Patrick’s fame can be traced to Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
It’s where she became a household name 13 years ago when she became the first woman to lead the Indianapolis 500 and emerged as a transcendent athlete.
It’s where everything started. This Sunday, it’s where everything will end, too.
In her last warmup before starting the final race of her career, Patrick had a bumpy final practice Friday on Carb Day. She was eighth fastest, but her Dallara-Chevrolet was in the garage most of the session because of an electrical problem in the engine. After returning during the final 10 minutes of the session, Patrick’s No. 13 seemed to be OK.
“At the end of the day, these are things you’re actually glad for, because if this had happened Sunday, we would have been done,” she said. “I’m glad to get the issues out of the way early on. Overall, today felt good. We made some changes when I went out the second time, and I’m feeling good about starting seventh on Sunday.”
Though she has had her share of success – along with a fourth in her debut, there was a third in 2009 and six top 10s in seven starts — Patrick has learned well how to handle frustration at the 2.5-mile track, too.
Fuel mileage might have kept her from winning her debut, a pit collision ruined 2008, and an unstable setup made 2010 a wild ride.
For a review of her up-and-down history at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and her legacy in racing, watch the video essay above that ran during Friday’s NASCAR America Motorsports Special on NBCSN.