Scanner Chatter Burton back in 2014, thinks Dillon is frontrunner for 29 next year
All of the chatter about flux at Richard Childress Racing doesn't have Jeff Burton flustered. There were rumors about Paul Menard not returning to the No. 27 in 2014 (he is) and RCR has not announced a driver to replace the departing Kevin Harvick in the No. 29. The common belief is that Jeff Burton's contract is up after this season to drive the No. 31 - but not so fast, he says.
"My contract is not up," Burton told News/Talk WSB Thursday. "One of the things I find humorous at times with the media is that they assume facts. My contract is not up - I will be driving for RCR next year."
Speculation has surrounded Burton's future, as he has finished 19th and 20th in points the last two seasons and hasn't won since 2008. But Burton, who turns 46 Saturday and has been with RCR since 2004, is prepared to take over as the senior driver at RCR. As for who may replace RCR's current longest-tenured driver in the No. 29, Burton says he has no inside info, but does have a good hunch about who it should be.
"Austin [Dillon] has proven he is ready to make that step," adding, "He is the logical choice. He has proven he is ready to drive a Cup car."
Childress has stated before that the tentative plan is for his grandson to start running Sprint Cup full-time in 2014. Stories surfaced earlier this week about pending free agent Ryan Newman being the leading candidate for the No. 29. Harvick is joining Newman's current home at Stewart-Haas Racing next season. Kurt Busch is also a free agent and currently drives for RCR satellite team Furniture Row Racing.
Burton called WSB to promote sponsor Kwikset and their primary sponsorship on the No. 31 at Daytona next week. Fans can visit IHeartTheMayor.com and Tweet to Burton with the hashtag #TweetToWin and enter win a grand prize trip to the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in October. The lucky winner gets a VIP race experience with Burton, including a tour of RCR's shop and one-on-one time with the driver.
We covered plenty of topics in our nearly 20 minute interview, including the outspokenness of Brad Keselowski, Tony Stewart wrecking the No. 31 at Sonoma, RCR's better 2013 results, the future for both Harrison and Jeb Burton, and what he does when he has to sneeze behind the wheel.