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September 1, 2005     Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
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September 1, 2005
 

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SPIRIT OF JEFFERSON Farmer's ADVOCATE - Thursday, September 1, 2005 13 Just the 5tet NASCAR POINTS LEADERS written by Media General News Service and produced by M~d!A General Syndication Services STEWART TRUEX For once, Jeff Burton was not bedeviled by bad o .IIL luck, and he finished second in the Sharpie 500 By Nate Ryan LapbyLap ) were perfect, the strategy was the 5,000 or so moving parts never inside the No. 31 Chevrolet. Meanwhile, the dri- ver made nary a misstep in navi- gating 500 rough-and-tum- ble laps around Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday night. Jeff Burton's runner-up finish in the faded badly on the last green-flag run of the race, Sharpie 500 stood as a season best but also a sinking from seventh to 15th in 40 laps. At' reminder of all the reasons the 2005 campaign Darlington, a top-five was short-circuited by a has been among the most frustrating of his 11- loose lug nut on a final stop with 40 laps to go. At year Nextel Cup career. Watkins Glen, Burton lost control of a fast car "I've never been a part of a team that has had while running in the top five. so many things go wrong late in the race so many "I'd say 80 percent of the problems are at the times," he said. "I've been a part of teams, that end," he said. "But if we were running faster, didn't perform well, but this is the first time I've we'd be turning a fifth into a 12th rather than a tleen part of a team that runs well, and it gets ninth into a 20th. Our focus is figuring how to away late in the race." manage the races well. But we also need more But the Richard Childress Racing crew team speed, so we'd have some cushion." still isn't running well enough for the 17-time With maybe a half-dozen reversals of fortune, winner. When opportunities are squandered, they Burton believes he would be among the "bubble" aren't the top-five finishes the 38-year-old scored teams still with a shot at the Chase with two with regularity from 1997 to 2000 (averaging 15 races remaining. per season in that span). Though his car hasn't kept pace with Tony Ranked 19th in the standings, Burton has fin- Stewart, Jimmie Johnson and Greg Biffle this ished in the top 10 only three times in 24 starts year, Burton said he has matched Jamie this year -- fewer top-lOs than any other dri- McMurray and Dale Jarrett, who are ranked 12th ver ranked in the top 25. and 14th with two races left before the Chase. The reason behind the mediocrity is two- "That's where we'd be," Burton said. "We fold: a lack of speed has prevented contend- haven't been fast enough to be in the top five or ing for wins, and a lack of luck has pre- six, but we've been in that second group." vented salvaging the solid top-15 finishes Though he has been first for only six laps in that are cornerstones of making the '05, Burton still has led more circuits than the Chase for the Nextel Cup. combined total of McMurray [one] and Jarrett "When you have missed opportuni- [two]. ties, they need to be for wins and top- Burton said the missing speed stems partially fives," said Burton, who from a lack of horsepower at RCR, but he is satis- hasn't won in 136 races since fled with car owner Richard Childress' invest- November 2001. "We're not there, ment in improving. The engine shop was reorga- We're not fast enough to overcome nized in July, and a Formula One engineer was those things and still be in the top hired to lead research and development. The 10 in points. We've let a lot of team also has upped its commitment to engineer- decent finishes slip away from us. ing, aerodynamic testing and a new chassis pro- That's why we don't have the top- gram. 10s." This year will mark Burton's fourth consecutive The stumbles have occurred in so season outside the top 10 in the standings -- a many areas, Burton can identify career-high drought. He says there won't be a only one common denominator: fifth. timing. Whether it's a driver error, "I firmly believe we have so many things going a poor pit stop, a mechanical mal- on right now that we didn't have at this point last function or a tactical blunder, the year," Burton said. "There comes a time we've mistakes always seem to come near got to quit talking about the future and make the the finish, present worthwhile. ' "Most of our bad days have been "That time is next year." on.the days we've performed the best," he said. Nate Ryan is a staff writer for the Richmond At Atlanta, Burton's handling Times-Dispatch in Virginia. SHOOT: Developing drivers is risky en i Rick Hendriek told his latest driver- to start looking, because he house, it example of the prob- NASCAR who are for the is also in an example of driver Sometimes is right now. gold . Mike Mulhern Jeff LapbyLap and he's doing the moment young drivers, Kyle Busch and And Roush seems to have struck another hot newcomer, Carl NASCAR hit is a home run. Just Roush-Chip Ganassi-Roger Penske . playing out in the stock-car for Roush to hand to take Rusty Wallace's seat next sea- said, Penske has a long wait r Nextel Cup 1. Tony St~ev~rt 3,410 2. JimmieJohnson 3,197 3. 3,186 4. Rusty Watlace 3,139 5. Ma~ Martin 3,014 6. Jeremy Mayfield 2,983 7, Kilt Busch 2, 82 8. Cad Edwards 2,849 9. t~n~ ,819 10. Jeff C.x~rdon 2,799 11. M~: Keflseth 2,788 12. Jamie McMun, ay 2,787 13; Eltiott ~ 2,765 14. Dale Jarrett 2;721 15. Dale ~ 2,68 16. Ke~n Harvick 2,677 17: Joe ~ 2,660 18. Bdan Vickers 2,590 19~ Jeff Button 2,5 9 20. Michael Walttip 2,482 Busch Series 1. Martin Tmex Jr. 3,756 2. Clint Bowyer 3,562 3, ReedSorenson 3,4.t2 4. Cad Edwards 3,331 5. Denny Hamlin 3,182 6. Kenny Wallace 3,136 7, ~d Green 2,908 8. David Stremrne 2,892 9: Paul Menard ,887 10. Jason Keller 2,819 11. Ashton Lewis 2,798 12. J.J. Yeley 2,766 13, ~Biffie 2i651 14. Johnny Sauter 2,613 15. Stacy Compton 2,50 16. Randy LaJoie 2,449 17, Justin Laborite 2,4t~ 18. Jo n Wood 2,355 19. Kc, vin Harvick 2,303 20. Stanton Barrett 2,175 // Sony HD 500 Where: California Speedway (Fontana, Calif.) When: Sept?4, 8 p.m. On the air: NBC Distance: 250 laps, 500 miles Track qualifying record: Ryan Newman, 187.432 mph, April 28, 2002 Track race record: Jeff Gordon, 155.012 mph, June 22, 1997 2004 winner: Elliott Sadler California Speedway Turn 2 Turn 1 Trade 2-mile D-shaped oval Banking: 14 degrees Busch Series Race: Ameriquest 300 (California Speedway) When: Sept. 3, 4 p.m. On the NBC Who's Hot: Rust,/Wallace. He locked up a Chase for the Nextet Cup berth with a fifth at Bristol Motor Speedway --- his eighth top-10 fin- ish in 12 races. He hasn't finished outside the top 20 in back-to-back races since May. "I will do everything in my power to keep that is just a bucket," Petty said with a laugh. "It's from happening," Roush said. just another way to con your sponsor out of And Roush said he's not looking for any swap money. And that's an owner saying that. -- Busch to Penske in exchange for McMurray to "These development drivers are all cheap dri- Roush. vers. And it's the same principle the bubble-gum Who's Not: Kevin Harvick. "Do I want Chip.Ganassi to give up Jamie baseball-card companies used to use when they With a wreck at Bristol, his Chase McMurray? Ask me that. That's an important would go to rookie camp or Class A and sign hopes might have evaporated, along question," Roush said. "No, I do not want that. every ballplayer in Greensboro to lifetime con- My plans are organized around Jamie McMurray tracts. All of a sudden they wind up with Darryl with his future at Richard Childress not being available until 2007 Strawberry signed up for $1,000 a year. When Racing. With one top 10 since May, "So for anyone to paint me in the same con- you're starving and riding a bus all over the he doesn't seem too unhappy about text as Penske is wrong. Roger is standing there Southeast for $200a week, that $1,000 check rocking from toe to toe like he needs to go to the looks great, the latter. bathroom, waiting for Kurt to come over. That's "So I like what Robert Yates once said: 'If I not my situation. I didn't go into this expecting bring a young driver along and spend $3.5 mil- Jamie to be available in 2006. lion to $4 million to run him in Busch, and then "There were a number of possibilities: We did $7 million or $8 million to run him as a rookie "They're holding look at Sterling Marlin, we did look at Michael in Cup, where he's not going to perform the firstyOU for two laps, Waltrip, we did look at Mike Wallace, we did two years, why wouldn't I just take that $20 mil- look at Jon Wood. But Mark stepped up and said lion and go give it to Jeff Gordon to come driveDale." he would be glad to drive the No. 6 car [one my car? That's my driver development.' "What for?" moreyear] and help me keep that team together "That's the way people have always done it. "Something about knocking so it wouldn't be diminished by the time Jamie "Driver development is great ffyou can do it. comes over in 2007." But right now a lot of these sponsors need the 12 into the fence." Kyle Petty is just one who has been watching instant gratification, so you've got to get some- all this play out, and with a rather jaundiced thing now." -- Dale Jarr t and crew, eye. conversing' after Jarrett's second "The driver-development programs we've all Mike Mulhern is a staff writer for the collision with Ryan Newman heard so much about the last two or three years Winston-Salem Journal in North Carolina. during the Sharpie 500 We have the BU CK, and GMC to meet your needs! SPECIAL PURCHASE! AT, AC, PS, PB, PW, #8224 MSRP $S2,18S NOW $39,2S! * SAVE OVER SOLSTICE 2006 TORRENT 2005 YUKON XL SLT to Our Lot/ /n Stock and Ready to Go/ AWD orFWD YOUHAVEONLYUNTILSEPTEMBER3OTOTAKEADVANTAGEOFTHISFANTASTICDEAL! Charles Town, WV IIIIII III I IIIIIII1| rWIclI.FN =N ~ II.FN