Friday Jeff Burton talked about his renewed passion on the track and how this renewed effort led to his post race discussion with Kyle Busch.
"This means a great deal to me," he said. "And because of that, because of my passion for it, every now and then I'll behave in a way I probably shouldn't. I crossed the line a little bit last week, but I don't regret it. I felt better."
Jeff Gordon has repeated on multiple occasions that he and his team are probably the closest they have ever been and that the numbers reflect that.
The question remains which of the Jeff’s will win first?
Richard Childress Racing came to Daytona with engines firing and proving their organization would be championship contenders. All three drivers, Burton, Kevin Harvick and Clint Boywer have run well enough to win. In fact Harvick won Talladega in April.
Burton on the other hand has had good cars at California, Las Vegas, Bristol, Martinsville, Talladega and Phoenix, etc. Burton has had good, race winning cars every week, yet no wins.
The team has done a good job adjusting on the race car throughout the race. It’s not the equipment that is costing them wins.
Blame poor timing, bad luck, blame Burton himself. They had a cut tire at Martinsville in the final laps. At Darlington a late race miscue on pit road cost him a top five finish if not a chance at the win.
This team seems to trip over themselves when it counts but it’s only a matter of time for this team. One win can lead to multiple wins, don’t believe me? Just ask Denny Hamlin.
Gordon has been the closet to victory lane of the two. In fact he should have won Las Vegas, Martinsville, Phoenix, Texas, Richmond and he could have won Talladega.
In every one of the above races he lost it either on green, white checker finishes or late race incidents.
Gordon has led a series high 711 laps but no more than three laps since Darlington where he led 110. In recent weeks they have fallen back into the same pattern the last couple years. They start the race off strong but are unable to maintain that to the finish.
This team needs to win not just one race but multiple races. Like Burton they are more than capable of doing this.
It is all about putting together a complete race.
The final verdict...
While both Burton and Gordon have been contenders for wins on multiple occasions this season; both have also squandered those wins on multiple occasions.
It’s interesting to note that in recent years both of them have responded to critics, fans and members of the media who have said they have lost their fire, their edge.
Let’s be honest the numbers don’t lie that in recent years both have suffered through seasons of lackluster numbers from their standards.
Their drive to win has never been more present but both drivers need to figure out a way to close the deal.
Since Talladega where they were involved in the same wreck, both have struggled to recapture the magic that had them off to such a hot start.
We are halfway to the Chase and both these drivers need more than just top 10 and top five runs they both need wins.
The next couple tracks favor Gordon at Michigan, Sonoma and New Hampshire. Burton has struggled at Michigan and Sonoma in the past. New Hampshire could be his best shot to win.
To be true championship contenders both Gordon and Burton have to win races and not just the moral victories.
Who do you think wins first?