Skip to content

Jeff Burton to leave No. 31 Childress car for an uncertain future

Sep 4, 2013, 2:09 PM EDT

AdvoCare 500 - Qualifying Getty Images

Jeff Burton announced Wednesday he’ll be leaving the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing in 2014, a year ahead of schedule. Burton cited a lack of full funding and said this would be a “major sacrifice” for Childress to commit to.

“I’d gone to Richard a while ago and said at the end of 2014 I’d step back and not run a full schedule, do partial schedule. We’re just accelerating it a year,” Burton said. “But I know I’m walking away right as we’re about to blossom. I’ll tell you, don’t be surprised if we pop us a win in the next couple weeks. We’re running well. I agreed to step aside and let the team continue to grow. I have no plans yet, and I haven’t spoken to any teams; I don’t know what I’m doing next year.”

Burton, 46, has 21 career NASCAR Sprint Cup victories but none since 2008. He last made the Chase for the Sprint Cup in 2010. He hasn’t missed a race since the spring race at Atlanta in 1996, so has started more than 600 straight races since.

But now, in the twilight of his Cup career, he faces an uncertain future. He acknowledged during a conference call with reporters that he wants to find a competitive situation and doesn’t want to simply ride around.

“I still have a passion for it but this is part of the reality of the sport,” he said. “I don’t anticipate doing anything that won’t be competitive. I have had some people reach out to me, but I haven’t returned any calls.”

Asked whether a Nationwide or Camping World Truck opportunity could be next, Burton didn’t dismiss it.

“As far as Nationwide or Trucks yeah, that’s always a possibility,” he said. “I’ll tell you this right now, I tell myself I’m a Cup driver, but there’s no shame in running Nationwide, Truck, late model. It shouldn’t be about what series you’re in. Racing is a damn blessing. It’s not a privilege. You see guys like Brian Vickers, Elliott Sadler. Regan Smith all run Nationwide. Yeah everyone wants to be in the big show. But I don’t consider myself just a Cup driver. I’d definitely entertain Nationwide/Truck offers. And I’ve had Sunday efforts.”

Burton joins Kevin Harvick in leaving RCR at the end of 2013. It’s a major upheaval for one of NASCAR’s longest-tenured operations, as Harvick (2001) and Burton (full-time since 2005) have been entrenched in the team for years.

“I thought about that the other night,” Burton admitted. “Between Clint (Bowyer), myself and Kevin, what we did didn’t compare to Earnhardt. But collectively, we three working together had a lot of success, all making the Chase and one of us always had a shot at winning the championship. Next year none of us will be there. Most of it is circumstantial. It’s a transformation and it does look different than it did three years ago. Richard’s committed to three, hopefully four cars. He doesn’t want half-rate drivers.”

Burton said NASCAR’s new era of younger drivers needs to begin. That will all but certainly include Austin Dillon in one of Childress’ Cup entries next year, and also will feature Kyle Larson in Chip Ganassi’s No. 42. For now, Burton’s future is undetermined and could include future races in 2014 or potentially, television work.

Latest Posts
  1. Everything you need to know about the 2014 Chasers at New Hampshire

    Sep 16, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT

    SYLVANIA 300 Getty Images

    All the notes and numbers to keep in mind as NASCAR enters the second race of the Chase’s Challenger Round.

  2. Australian GP may have a new contract, but it also posted a record loss in 2014

    Sep 16, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    Australian F1 Grand Prix - Practice Getty Images

    Reports from Australia peg the season-opening race having posted an A$60 million loss in 2014.

  3. IndyCar: CFH to make major team announcement on Wednesday

    Sep 16, 2014, 12:25 PM EDT

    CFHlogo

    CFH Racing reveals logo and will reveal a part of its 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series program on Wednesday.

  4. Big weekend for Chevy upcoming in Austin

    Sep 16, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

    CorvetteCOTApre Getty Images

    Corvette Racing and Corvette DP teams look for Austin win encore this weekend.

  5. Renault’s Taffin: Fuel consumption could well be an issue in Singapore

    Sep 16, 2014, 11:15 AM EDT

    Lotus F1 Formula One driver Grosjean drives in the pit lane during the qualifying session of the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix Getty Images

    Expect the 100 kg fuel limit to enter the equation this weekend, says Renault’s head of track operations.

  6. Perez seeks to continue Singapore points streak this weekend

    Sep 16, 2014, 10:28 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain Getty Images

    Sergio Perez looks to go 4-4 in Singapore scores.

  7. Michael Waltrip premieres to less than critical acclaim on “Dancing with the Stars”

    Sep 16, 2014, 9:52 AM EDT

    MWslaterdance1 Getty Images

    Michael Waltrip and partner Emma Slater look to avoid being eliminated after first dance effort on DWTS.

  8. Tony Stewart awaits District Attorney’s review of Kevin Ward Jr. case

    Sep 15, 2014, 10:54 PM EDT

    tony stewart chicagoland 2014 Getty Images

    Tony Stewart is expected to learn later this week if he will not face charges or may be indicted in last month’s Kevin Ward Jr. tragedy. A noted attorney with extensive experience in death and catastrophic injury cases explained to MST the legal process in Stewart’s case.

  9. NASCAR America (video): Aric Almirola needs a good showing in New Hampshire

    Sep 15, 2014, 9:36 PM EDT

    Aric Almirola Chicagoland 2014 Getty Images

    In his first-ever race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, Aric Almirola suffered a blown engine at Chicagoland Speedway for the first time in his three-year career.

  10. NASCAR America (video): Dale Jr., Jimmie Johnson struggle in first Chase race

    Sep 15, 2014, 9:31 PM EDT

    jj dale jr. 2014 Getty Images

    On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, we recap how Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson struggled in the first race of the Chase.

  11. WATCH LIVE: NASCAR America at 7 pm ET — Chase race recap, RPM’s heartbreak, Ganassi’s drivers

    Sep 15, 2014, 4:01 PM EDT

    140915-NASCAR-AMERICA

    Monday’s edition of NASCAR America recaps all the highs and lows of Sunday’s opening race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, from Brad Keselowski’s win to Aric Almirola’s heartbreak.

  12. Great piece from Indy Star: John Paul Jr. keeps fighting

    Sep 15, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

    Indycar logo

    John Paul Jr. keeps fighting despite Huntington’s disease.

  13. Parker Kligerman weighs in on Indy Lights test (VIDEO)

    Sep 15, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    kligerman Getty Images

    Parker Kligerman recaps his Indy Lights test at IMS.

  14. After heartbreaking Chase opener, Almirola already in must-win situation

    Sep 15, 2014, 1:55 PM EDT

    Almirola Chicagoland 2014 Getty Images

    Aric Almirola came into Sunday’s opening race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup with high hopes of being perhaps the Cinderella of the playoffs, someone who would fly under the radar all the way to the final four season-ending battle at Homestead.

  15. PWC: Champions crowned in Utah

    Sep 15, 2014, 12:57 PM EDT

    WC

    Pirelli World Challenge race winners and champions crowned after Utah doubleheader.

  16. MRTI: Pigot, O’Ward, Jamin lead Griffis Memorial Test at IMS

    Sep 15, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

    Photo: Andersen Promotions Photo: Andersen Promotions

    Next generation of potential IndyCar drivers on display at IMS test.

  17. Mercedes names Pascal Wehrlein F1 reserve driver

    Sep 15, 2014, 10:15 AM EDT

    Lewis Hamilton AP

    Mercedes names 19-year-old its new reserve driver.

  18. MRTI: Josef Newgarden tests new Indy Lights car (VIDEO)

    Sep 15, 2014, 9:53 AM EDT

    Josef Newgarden Josef Newgarden

    Josef Newgarden tests the new Indy Lights car at IMS.

  19. It’s official: Marcos Ambrose will return to Australia to race V8 Supercars for Roger Penske

    Sep 14, 2014, 8:52 PM EDT

    Marcos Ambrose (left), along with NASCAR president Mike Helton. (Photo: Sean Gardner/Getty Images) Getty Images

    JOLIET, Ill. — One day after announcing he would not be returning to Richard Petty Motorsports in 2015, Marcos Ambrose made it official that he’s going home to his native Australia to and race in the V8 Supercars series for Roger Penske.

Video from NASCAR America

Johnson's quest for a record 7th title
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. J. Johnson (1555)
  2. K. Busch (1480)
  3. J. Gordon (1285)
  4. J. Logano (1226)
  5. B. Keselowski (1179)