The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

Jeff Burton and Ted Musgrave Test at Martinsville Speedway

3 September 1997


MARTINSVILLE, VA - Two days after fighting a final lap battle for a Southern
500 win at Darlington, Jeff Burton was at Martinsville Speedway preparing for
the Hanes 500 on Sunday, Sept.28.

But he hadn't put Sunday's race completely out of mind.

Burton, driver of the Exide Batteries Ford, and teammate Ted Musgrave, driver
of the Family Channel/Primestar Ford, tested at Martinsville on Tuesday.

Burton and race winner Jeff Gordon squared off in one of the best final lap
battles of the season, including some fender-banging going into turn one.

"I don't necessarily hope it ever comes to pushing and shoving," Burton said
during the test session at the 0.526-mile track. "You try to avoid that. At
least I do. Sometimes you can't avoid it.

"He blocked me and when he turned left I turned right and we hit. It slowed my
momentum down, and I needed to be beside him going into one and I didn't need
to be a little bit beside him. I'm not going to wreck somebody to win a race.
I'm not going to do it."

Burton obviously didn't like the incident, but he said he understands.

"I didn't think he would block me the way he blocked me. It's borderline
unethical, but when there is a million dollars on the line you probably don't
have a lot of ethics," Burton said. "I don't blame him. I'm not saying I blame
him because for a million dollars, I'd probably have done the same thing."

Burton said he feels like a rivalry may be building between himself and 

"I'd like to think so. I think it would be healthy for the sport, and I'd be
healthy for me," he said adding, "It's hard for him (Gordon) to get a whole
lot healthier.

"I think it's been brewing. He came on and upset the apple cart a little bit
by putting pressure on Dale Earnhardt and Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin and
they all have had to step their game up along with that 24 car," Burton
continued. "And hopefully we can come in and put pressure on him and make him
step his game up." 

Gordon has won two consecutive Martinsville Winston Cup races and Burton won 
a Martinsville Busch Grand National race in 1990. Burton says he is looking
forward to coming back to Martinsville.

"I'm nervous and excited," he said. "Qualifying is real hard here. Cold tires,
slippery situation always makes it hairy here. I have not had the best of
finishes here, but I run well."

Burton, who is fifth in the Winston Cup points standing, also is excited about
the remainder of the season.

"We certainly are going to races with a different attitude, but the success
you have doesn't guarantee any more success," he said. "I try go into every
race thinking I'm going to run terrible. If I do that it keeps me on my toes
and keeps the team on its toes. Just because you ran well last week doesn't
mean anything the next week. You have to be doubtful you are doing the right
thing and always try to improve it."

The speedway still has good seats, for $35 to $40, available for next month's
Hanes 500 on Sunday, Sept. 28 beginning at 12:30 p.m. The Hanes 250/500
weekend includes the NASCAR Winston Cup Series and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck

Busch pole qualifying for the Hanes 250/500 weekend will begin at 3 p.m. on
Friday, Sept. 26 with the Winston Cup Series followed immediately by time
trials for the Craftsman Truck Series. Tickets for qualifying day are just $10
and children under age 12 are admitted free with a paying adult.

The Hanes 250 Truck Series race begins at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 27 and
tickets are $25 each for adults and tickets for children ages six to 12 are
$5. Children under six years of age are admitted free with a paying adult.

The 8,000 unreserved seats that go on sale race morning at 7:30 for the Hanes
500 are $30 each. Children ages six to 12 can sit in the unreserved section
for $5.

By Martinsville Public Relations