DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- One of the biggest misconceptions about a NASCAR driver is the amount of free time they have during the race weekend. The consensus seems to suggest that drivers arrive at the track, compete and go home all within a three or four-hour time window.
That's simply not the case as drivers also perform duties as ambassadors for NASCAR, their sponsors and spending legitimate quality time with the fans. It's a stacked schedule that if not properly executed could leave a driver exhausted well before the drop of the green flag.
Jeff Burton allowed SB Nation to shadow him from morning to dusk on Friday night at Daytona International Speedway as he prepared for qualifying and the ways in which he navigates the day-to-day responsibilities of beings Sprint Cup Series driver.
The driver began his Friday at 9:30 a.m. but couldn't ease into his schedule as a photo shoot/local media session required him in his new Kwikset firesuit several hours before he was even scheduled to get inside the race car.
Burton and crew chief Luke Lambert spent time with the author at 1:30 before immediately transitioning into a meet-and-greet with sponsor executives at 2:00. That lasted roughly one hour, which led directly into Sprint Cup Series qualifying at 4:10.
Since Burton was scheduled to go out sixth in time trials, the South Boston-native was hastily ushered to his car where he had just a few moments to joke with his crew before hopping into his Gen-6 race car at 4:25 for two laps at over 190 mph.
After a quick debrief, Burton returned to his hauler, where he was approached by several fans to sign autographs, hero cars and tee-shirt. The driver was able to relax for much of the next two hours but couldn't call it a night as he was the special guest on the popular Speed Network television show -- Trackside.
After an engaging 30 minute television session, at last was Burton was able to retire to his motorhome and enjoy his night and prepare for the challenges of the next day and the Coke Zero 400.
The official schedule printout has been included below as a source of reference.