One driver that I've always liked but never really talked about is Jeff Burton. I had a chance encounter with him back in 1994 at a Holiday Inn in one of the hallways that was very positive. Back then he was in the 12 car, going for Rookie of The Year Honours.
I always secretly cheered for him, as I couldn't outwardly cheer for him being a Chevy guy and all. I always thought he would be a great addition to Richard Childress Racing, even when Dale was alive. Imagine my surprise when he eventually signed on with RCR, I was pretty happy. My only regret about his signing to RCR was that it was too late, in my opinion. He should have been driving that 31 car long before Dale died. C'est la vie, I guess.
Now Jeff is sitting 10th in points with one race left to make the Chase. Kasey Kahne is nipping at his heals for that coveted 10th position, and stands a good chance at getting it too. Burton's reply to being under such pressure this weekend to keep that spot was classic;
"I feel a whole lot less pressure today than I did last year or the year before that when we didn't have a snowball's chance in hell of getting in. It's a whole lot different, and it's the kind of pressure I like. We're in, and we're defending a position instead of clawing to get it. Carl Edwards is stressed out because he's not in and has no chance of getting in. Given the choice, I'll take my kind of stress right now over his."
Notice, he referred directly to his old 99 car and not to anyone else. Who said Jeff is too laid back, or doesn't hold a grudge? I sense some bitterness there, and making the Chase over the 99 car might be enough to make him a potent opponent out on the track this weekend. Once he is in the Chase I also sense that winning a Championship before the 99 car, or even just winning over Jack Roush would be very pleasurable for Jeff. I think Jeff has the "eye of the tiger" right now, he's just laying in wait, ready to pounce.
There is more about Jeff contained in this article from Fox Sports. It is short, but good. Read it if you get a chance.