Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Jeff Burton Will Not Return to Richard Childress Racing in 2014

Originally written for CLNS Radio.

Richard Childress Racing announced on Wednesday that Jeff Burton would not return to the No. 31 car in 2014.  

Burton said he had already told Childress that he would like to run a partial schedule starting in 2015, or look into other opportunities when his contract expired after the 2014 season.  Childress and Burton made the mutual decision to speed that process up a year, according to a statement released by the team.
Burton did announce that he did not have any plans for next year as of this time.

"I don't know what I'm going to do next year," Burton told the media.  "We'll just have to muddle our way through it a little bit."

Burton said that he still enjoys racing, but that he's not sure if he can have a competitive ride for next year.
"I still love racing and I still have a passion for it," said Burton.  "But what opportunities are going to be there?"

Burton was contracted through the 2014 season, but he agreed to leave because he was only going to drive one more year, and they were not going to have the funding to be competitive.  

The team did not announce a replacement driver, though it is expected that Austin Dillon or Ryan Newman will fill the seat.  

Dillon, Childress' grandson, has been the most likely candidate to bring the No. 3 back to the Sprint Cup Series.  When it was announced last month that Kevin Harvick would be leaving for Stewart-Haas Racing, Dillon's name was the leading candidate to take over that car.  

Newman, who currently drives the No. 39 for Stewart-Haas, will not be returning to that team next season, and he will most likely join Richard Childress Racing to take over the 31.

Burton will still drive the car for the remainder of the season, and he said he is looking to end his career at RCR on a high note.

"This is a scary time and also an exciting time," Burton said.  "I'm going to have a good time the next 11 weeks and race my ass off."

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