Jeff Burton believes the new car being used full time in the Sprint Cup Series in 2008 will eventually give more teams a chance to have more success at stock-car racing’s top level.
But not necessarily this year.
“The box that NASCAR has put us in with this car is a much tighter box than we've had in the past, there's no question,” Burton said Monday as Sprint Cup testing resumed at Daytona International Speedway.
“The opportunity for more teams to have more success I think is there long-term.
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“Short term, it's such a radical difference than what we've had you're going to be in a position where some teams are just going to, plain and simple, do it better than the others. ...This car is a baby and there are so many things we don't know about it.”
The new car was used in 16 races in 2007, but will be used for all of the events this year.
“The team that takes advantage of what is the best is always going to run the best,” Burton said.
“End of story. That's what Richard Petty did, that's what Dale Earnhardt did. I'm not saying they weren't great race car drivers because they obviously were. But a great race car driver in a bad car doesn't make great results. A great car and a bad race car driver doesn't make great results. You have to have both.
“When you have something different some people are going to hit it. The more we have this car and the longer we run it, the more equal it will become. ...But let's be clear. I don't care what NASCAR does, the teams that have the best-run organizations will have the best equipment and therefore will go the fastest around the race track. It's just that simple.”
Burton said there’s no way everyone could agree that all the decisions NASCAR made with the car were the right ones. He doesn’t see how anyone could argue with its safety advances, but knows that doesn’t mean some people won’t.
“I don't think there's any doubt this is a safer race car,” Burton said.
“It's kind of funny, six years ago we sat here and NASCAR was on the hot seat for not doing enough. The story was NASCAR was lagging behind in safety compared to other forms of the sport. So then NASCAR went and made a tremendous commitment to building a car that was a tremendous amount safer, and they get blasted for that, too. In many ways NASCAR can't win.”