Burton Talks About Kyle Busch
Jeff Burton met with the media on Friday for the first time since his confrontation with Kyle Busch in the pits at Charlotte Motor Speedway last Sunday.
Here is an excerpt from Burton’s press conference:
WHAT IS YOUR PERSPECTIVE ON THE INCIDENT WITH KYLE BUSCH AND HAVE YOU SPOKE WITH HIM?: “We haven’t talked, not because I’m avoiding him or I think he’s avoiding me. I was at Watkins Glen doing a tire test for Goodyear the last two days and just honestly been really busy. I don’t mind sitting down and talking to Kyle (Busch). I told you guys two weeks ago, I like racing with Kyle and I don’t have any personal problem with Kyle, he’s aggressive. Last week, my perspective was exactly what is was that week. Kyle tried to make it three-wide and got in my left rear. He didn’t mean to do it, he didn’t set out and say that he was going to cut the left rear tire of the 31 car. He just did what he thought he needed to do to pick up a position. I have respect for that. He made a mistake and I paid the price for it. My perspective is exactly what it was last week. Obviously, I was a lot madder about it last week than I am today. I’m not one of those people that believe that people are out to get me or that Kyle set out to go ruin my night. He didn’t mean to get into me. He was being aggressive and made a mistake. I was mad because we’ve had great race cars, been in position to win a lot of races and had a lot of top-fives with not a lot to show for it. It’s just getting frustrating. When you see a guy be as aggressive as he is and get into somebody then you tend to have little tolerance for it. It’s nothing personal. Like I told you all two weeks ago, I like racing with Kyle and I don’t have any problems with Kyle. We won’t have any problems moving forward. He knows exactly how I feel and we can talk about it. Honestly, there’s not a whole lot to talk about.”
WILL YOU RACE KYLE BUSCH ANY DIFFERENTLY?: “I won’t race him (Kyle Busch) any different and I don’t think he’ll race me any differently. I think that we’re both professionals. Kyle’s consistent and I think I’m consistent. I’m coming to Pocono to race Pocono, I’m not coming to Pocono to race Kyle. I’m not interested in a weekly confrontation. I don’t like them. I don’t like yearly confrontations much less weekly. I’m here to race Pocono and go out and win this race and that is what he’s here to do too. I understand it was heated. To his credit, he handled that pretty well. It’s hard when somebody is in your face, he handled it well, his crew handled it well. It’s a new week.”
IS IT DIFFICULT TO REMAIN PATIENT EACH WEEK WHEN YOU ARE NOT RUNNING AS WELL AS YOU ANTICIPATE?: “You have to be sure that you race the way you know how to race. I try to learn and try to be better, but I’m not going to change my overall philosophy about driving this car and what we need to do to be successful. Like I told you guys many times, we all have situations that we put ourselves in. I know I’m not crying victim. I feel like we’ve participated in our successes and we’ve participated in our failures. It is frustrating for sure. There’s a lot of people that would love to be in the situation we’re in. There are a lot of people in front of us in points that would love to be in the situation we’re in. We have fast race cars, we have a really strong team, we have good leadership. We have a lot of things going for us. We do have to be better, but we can’t let our failures override our mindset and override what it is we need to do to be better and that’s what our focus is on really is just being better.”
WERE YOU SURPRISED YOU REACTED AS YOU DID TOWARD KYLE BUSCH?: “I was just pissed off, man. I didn’t go looking for a fight, I was just pissed off. I had 15 laps or whatever it was to get calmed down and I didn’t. I felt like I needed to handle it and address it right then. I was just mad and it’s not more complicated than that.”
WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU FELT THAT MAD IN A RACE CAR?: “Here’s the thing and this is an emotional sport. I’ve been that mad plenty of times. Particularly when you get that mad, you have time to get over it before the race is over. In that case, I didn’t. I don’t know, I don’t remember the last time, but that’s not the maddest I’ve ever been. I’ve heard people say, ‘That’s the maddest I’ve ever seen him.’ That’s not the maddest I’ve ever been, I can guarantee you that. By the way, I wasn’t mad Monday morning when I woke up. It was over. 10 years ago, I would have still been mad today. What I’ve learned is that this is an emotional sport and everybody tries hard. Kyle (Busch) didn’t set out to cut my left rear tire, he set out to go try to win the race. That’s what he’s supposed to do. All I was asking for was just a little more respect.”
DID CLINT BOWYER HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE THREE-WIDE SITUATION?: “I’ve watched the tape twice and I haven’t, you know, put it in slow motion or slow it down and look at it. I look at it from a racer’s perspective. And I don’t want to keep reliving this. I told Christine this morning, I’ve got a 14-year old daughter, I have all the drama I need. I don’t need a whole lot more. The deal with Clint (Bowyer) is that Clint did get three-wide, but what happened was that Kyle (Busch) tried to get in between me and the guy that was in front of him. He tried to do the same thing that almost won him the All-Star race last year. If you go back and think about it, he popped in the middle and made it three-wide and almost won the All-Star race last year by making that move. That’s what he tried to do this time and when his splitter caught my left rear tire, it slowed his momentum and then that’s when the 33 (Bowyer) got inside. That’ the way it happened. I really don’t want to keep reliving it. It is what it is, it’s over and we just need to go racing.”
IS THERE ANY VALUE TO SHOWING THE GARAGE THAT YOU WILL GET IN THEIR FACE IF SOMETHING BOTHERS YOU?: “Not everything I do is calculated. Sometimes, I’ve been just like everybody in the room, I make mistakes and I do things that are right too. I didn’t exactly go over there after sitting down and having a thoughtful conversation about the right way to handle that situation. A lot of that or most of that was emotion. Whether that’s productive or not, can always be debated. At the time, I didn’t really care if it was productive or not. That’s a little out of my character, but that’s part of having a passion for the sport and having a passion to succeed. I work hard at what I do. I don’t play golf on Tuesdays, I work. I put a lot of time into what I do. I try real hard. I consider myself to be a guy that never quits and I take a lot of pride in that. It means a lot to me to be successful at this level is what my professional life is all about. It’s about nothing more than that. I’m going to be respected for sure, but I’m here for a reason and it’s not to be part of a game, it’s to win and I think this is my best shot to ever win a championship and I really believe that.
“This means a great deal to me and because of that and because of my passion for it, every now and then, I’m going to behave in a way I probably shouldn’t. I crossed the line a little bit last week, but I don’t regret it. I did cross the line a little bit last week and could have been more productive by having a conversation on Monday rather than Sunday night.”One Comment