Richard Childress Racing's Jeff Burton arrived in New Hampshire for this weekend's NASCAR race still fuming about what he considered unacceptably aggressive driving during last Sunday's road course race at Sonoma.
“I thought last week was horrendous,” Burton told reporters at Loudon. “I thought the behavior shown last week from driver to driver was completely unacceptable. If our sport is going to become that, then we need to change it from racing to demolition cars, because that wasn't racing last week.”
Burton suggested that re-profiling of the Infineon Raceway course might help the situation.
“The track is very difficult. Now that we do double-file restarts, it's not a bad idea to start thinking about changing Turn 7 and how much we have to slow down for Turn 7 to try to separate the field a little bit before we get to that corner.
“Ultimately, it's the drivers' responsibility to have some respect for each other. The last 10 laps of that race didn't look like we were the best drivers in this country – it looked like we were some of the worst drivers in this country. Again, it's just ridiculous.
“I ran all over Mark Martin one time – I got in the corner and somebody made it three wide. I didn't know they were going to make it three wide – they just popped up in there and I had to slow down to keep from running over Mark. The guy behind me knew that, made it three wide and I ended up running all over Mark. There are two guys who hardly ever hit anybody, and here I am running into him.”
Burton added that the over-aggressiveness of some drivers is forcing others to respond in kind.
“When I contacted Mark after the race, he was like, ‘Don't worry about it. No big deal, I understand.' That's because he knows that if I hit him it's because something happened. So the length of the leash depends on your relationship with the driver you had the incident with. It's just that simple. I think Jeff [Gordon] will readily admit that he hit way too many people last week; but I know exactly why he did it. The reason was if he slowed down as much as he really needed to slow down, he was terrified that the guy behind him was going to run over him, because history says that's what is going to happen. That race has just turned into a demolition derby.”