Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Teleconference Statement from Jeff Burton on leaving RCR:

Teleconference Statement from Jeff Burton on leaving RCR:
I know everybody's busy, and there's been a lot of rumors and speculation over the last several months or even, I guess, some cases several years, concerning my time at RCR. The reality of our situation are Richard and I work exceptionally hard to build a race team that could be competitive, and honestly, I'm really excited about what we've done this year, not from our finishing positions, but from the way we've performed and really excited about the way we've been running the last couple months.

The harsh realities are we've gone into next year, Caterpillar has been a huge supporter of mine and RCR's in the past and also next year, but there was a lot of funding that wasn't in place. I had gone to Richard a while ago and told him that at the end of 2014 that I was going to step back and probably not run full schedule anymore and look at maybe running some partial schedules or look at other opportunities.

So we're just accelerating it a year early to give the team a chance to -- and I'm not going to talk about my replacement, that's not my place to do. But to give Richard Childress Racing an opportunity to continue to move that team forward, which I think is an exceptionally strong team, to put the funding in place with a really good driver that can go out and be successful. You know, just the timing was right for me to do something different.

Richard and I have worked through this process as friends. We've worked through it with mutual respect. I think after this process we have more respect for each other than we did going into it. It's been a very difficult situation. There is no doubt about that. But the harsh realities are everybody knows that sponsorship is a tough game right now.

We've had a tremendous amount of support from a lot of companies, mainly Caterpillar. Caterpillar has been incredible to work with. General Mills has been incredible to work with, Kwikset, Chevrolet has been phenomenal. But the reality is we didn't have it all in place for next year, so it just makes sense. The timing was right to make a change.

It's a tough time for me because I truly believe in what we're doing. When I say we, I mean, I'm still part of it. I'm a big, big fan of Luke, my crew chief. I'm a big fan of our engineers and body and Matt McCall, the car chief has been there with me for about ten years. We've got really, really good people on that team, and we're starting to perform. Truly, I'm walking away from it when I believe we're about to blossom. I can feel it. I can see it.

Listen, I'll tell you right now, don't be surprised in the next several weeks we don't pop us a win somewhere. We're starting to run well enough to do it.

But the situation is what it is. Out of respect for Richard, and Richard's respect for me, we came to an agreement and I decided, agreed and decided to step aside and let the team continue to grow.

I don't have any plans, contrary to reports. I have not spoken to any team, you know. I don't know what I'm going to do next year. We're just going to have to motor our way through it a little bit.

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