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NASCAR Winston Cup Bud at Watkins Glen Report: #99, Jeff Burton

12 August 1997

 #99 Jeff Burton, Exide Batteries Ford Thunderbird          
 NASCAR Winston Cup Series
 The Bud at the Glen Race Report
 Watkins Glen International

WATKINS GLEN, NY - It was a trying weekend for the Exide Batteries Racing 
Team. On Friday morning, they unloaded  the car designed specifically for the 
road course at Watkins Glen International, and went to work during the long, 
four hour practice session to ready the car for qualifying that afternoon. 
Unfortunately, their speed of 118.688 mph in qualifying, left them without a 
spot in the top 25.

The decision to re-qualify on Saturday morning was a difficult one for the 
team. Crew Chief Buddy Parrott, driver Jeff Burton and the rest of the crew 
finally made a last minute decision to have another go at it. Jeff ran an 
almost identical speed of 118.588 mph and wound up losing three positions as 
several other drivers bettered their speed the second time around, leaving 
the team to start in the 36th position. They were confident, however, that 
they would be competitive in the race on Sunday. 

Passing is difficult on the 2.45-mile road course, and starting 36th made 
things tricky for Jeff in his trek to the front of the field. He worked 
diligently to better his track position and by lap 25, he found himself in 
21st position. Several laps later, driver Lance Hooper got two wheels off 
course and in his effort to save the car from wrecking, made contact with 
Jeff and sent him spinning into the gravel pit. Jeff lost a lap waiting for 
the wrecker to pull him out of the sand pit, and then came into the pits to 
allow the team to work on both the right front and rear of the car, which 
were left with rather substantial damage. He came out of the pits in 36th 
position, and stayed there for the majority of the day. Thanks to some late 
attrition, the team finished the day in the 29th spot.

Jeff remained in fifth place in the Winston Cup point standings, 352 points 
behind leader Jeff Gordon. The series moves to Michigan next weekend where, 
in the June race, Jeff finished in 14th place, despite a practice crash that 
forced him into the backup car and left him with minor injuries.