This Sunday in Las Vegas will mark the start of the season for Jeff Burton. Burton who failed to qualify for the Daytona 500 will be making his first start of 2014 when the green flag drops at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Burton will be driving the No. machine for Michael Waltrip Racing. Although the No. 66 car will be seen for the rest of the season, Burton will only be driving it for a few races this year. As a result of a new partnership between Michael Waltrip Racing and Jay Robinson Racing, Burton will take on a few races while Joe Nemecheck will be the primary driver.
Michael Waltrip Racing was left in quite a predicament following the 2013 NASCAR season. During the final race of 2013 the team was part of a cheating scandal in which they tried to impact the finishing order of the race in an effort to make the chase. After a NASCAR review of radio communications and driver actions, then Michael Waltrip Racing driver Martin Truex Jr. was withheld from the chase. After further review NASCAR made history by adding Jeff Gordon to the chase to right the wrong they felt was caused by the cheating.
Shortly after the cheating scandal NAPA announced that it was ending its relationship with the race team. NAPA having been the teams primary sponsor, left them with nobody to sponsor their car in 2014. The dominoes continued to fall when Truex left the team since he no longer had a ride and it was questionable as to what the team was going to do in 2014.
As luck would have it Burton became available and the agreement was reached with Jay Robinson Racing. Ideally one would have to imagine that Michael Waltrip Racing wanted to find a way to run their own car this season but that just wasn’t in the cards. Burton’s start at Las Vegas will keep his streak of having raced in all of the Las Vegas events alive. Burton who is also a multiple time winner at the track could be a dark horse to win the race.
A win for Burton on Sunday would go a very long way for him and his team.
Source: Jenna Fryer, Associated Press