Jeff Burton was born in South Boston, VA, on the 29th of June, 1967. His more than 30-year career started off when he first got behind the wheel of a go-kart at the age of seven and it eventually led him to winning two Virginia karting state championships before he took to stock car racing instead in 1984. He raced on his home track in South Boston Speedway, winning six Late Model races in 1986 and seven the following year.
Jeff Burton’s NASCAR career began in 1988 when he competed in five Busch Series races, twice finishing 11th. He raced the Busch Series for his father, John, finally winning in September 1990 at Martinsville, where he drove for Sam Ard, the Busch series legend. From 1988 to 1993 Burton raced full time in the Busch Series with a personal best in 1992. Overall he had a total of 20 career Busch wins.
In July of 1993 Burton made his Cup debut in New Hampshire but failed to complete the race when he had a crash after 86 laps. He again raced full time in 1994, which ended with him winning Cup rookie of the year honors. Throughout these years of racing Jeff Burton was unable to feature as well as he would have liked, but 1996 changed all of that when he began driving for Jack Roush and his career took off with six Top-5’s and twelve Top-10’s and finishing overall 13th in points.
Between 1996 and 2001, Burton was able to keep his track record up and doing well, finishing top five in points. It was during those years that he made 15 of his 17 wins, which included his first win in April 1997 in Texas. Burton was tenth in points when he finished 2001, which was the last year he ever won a race. Jeff Burton left Roush Racing in 2005 and moved to Richard Childress Racing where he had three Top-5’s and six Top-10’s driving the No. 31 Chevrolet. Overall, Jeff finished the year 18th in points for the second time round.
Continuing to build his reputation as a talented driver, and as a reflection of his confidence in RCR, Burton won the pole for four races in 2006, adding to his previous two pole wins. His best finish of the season was a second place in the Chicagoland Speedway race, and he set the pace for more than half the race at the Sharpie 500 at Bristol. Breaking his four year winning drought, Burton won at both the Dover International Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway. He qualified for the Chase for the Nextel Cup, and set about winning the Dover 400, putting him in the points lead. However, the taste of victory was short-lived as a series of poor finishes and misfortune precluded Burton from the championship.
On 15 April 2007, Burton won the Samsung 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway, making him the first driver to score multiple wins at this particular track. He qualified for the Chase for the Nextel Cup, finishing in a tied 7th place in the standings for 2007. In 2008 Burton qualified 36th for his first Daytona 500, and worked his way up in the field, finishing 13th. He won the 2008 Food City 500 at the Bristol Motor Speedway, as well as the Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, taking the lead from Greg Biffle. Still racing with RCR, in 2009 Burton finished 17th in series points, being his most disappointing points finish since 2005 where he came in at 18th. In October 2009 he made his 800th NASCAR Nationwide Series start at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Moving into 2010, Jeff Burton will be undertaking his 17th full season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. His achievements to date (March 2010) include 547 starts, 21 wins, six poles, 122 top-five finishes, and 222 top-ten finishes.
Located in Fort Worth, Texas, the Texas Motor Speedway was built between 1995 and 1996. The original track featured a dual banking system with a 24-degree bank for stock cars and an 8-degree bank for open-wheel vehicles. The track is classified as a superspeedway as it is more than one mile in length and it is similar in layout to the Atlanta Motor Speedway and Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The track’s ‘Turn 4’ was reshaped in 1998 to make transitions from the turns to the straightway easier. Further renovations that same year eliminated the dual banking and resulted in the track currently in use today.
The Texas Motor Speedway measures 1.5 miles in length and features a quad-oval design. It has been banked 24 degrees in the turns to facilitate fast racing and the front straightway juts outwards a bit. It also has a seating capacity of more than 200,000 for NASCAR and IndyCar racing events. The track features tunnel bumps on Turns 2 and 4 which add to the its uniqueness. The track is currently owned by Speedway Motorsports Inc. At one stage the Texas Motor Speedway was considered to be the ‘fastest non-restrictor plate track’ to appear on the NASCAR circuit. Qualifying speeds exceeded 192 mph and corner entry speeds were often clocked at over 200 mph. However, with the gradual wear of racing surfaces other tracks, such as Atlanta, proven to be faster. Currently the top qualifying record is held by Brian Vickers who posted a 196.235 mph speed in 2006.
The Texas Motor Speedway is home to two NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races – making it a very popular racetrack with big attendance figures. The races which it hosts are the Samsung/Radio Shack 500 and the Dickes 500. It also hosts the O’Reilly 300 and the O’Reilly Challenge – both of which are Busch Series Races. The Bombardier Learjet 550 is the only Indy Racing League race that it hosts.
Robert ‘Bobby’ Alan Labonte was born in 1964 in Corpus Christi, Texas. He started racing at the tender age of five in a quarter midget race in his hometown. Just one year later, he won his first feature race and he started racing in quarter midget events across the US – many of which he won. In 1978 he moved up to go-karts and the whole family moved to North Carolina to support his older brother Terry who had advanced to the Cup series there. Bobby Labonte continued to race and, after competing in a number of different divisions, made his Busch Series debut in 1982. After graduating, he worked at Hagan Racing and continued to race in various divisions until 1985 when he returned to the Busch Series.
In his second season of the Busch Series, Labonte claimed his first pole position and he finished second at Road Atlanta. Just two years later he won twelve of the Caraway Speedway races of 1987 and he took the track championship that year in his own car – one of two. That year proved to be most fruitful for Labonte and he took a number of wins and top-five finishes during the course of the year. In 1990, Labonte competed in the Busch Series full time, driving his own #44 Slim Jim Oldsmobile. Besides doing well on the track, he won the Most Popular Driver award that year. He went on to win his first race at Bristol and then he won again at the Indianapolis Raceway Park. He went on to win the Championship that year and made two Cup starts at the Dover and Michigan International Speedways.
In 1993, Labonte started to drive in the Cup Series. His car was the #22 Maxwell House Ford Thunderbird and he raced for Bill Davis Racing. He had a brilliant year and even took the championship title in the Busch Series that year. His NASCAR career continued to get better and better and he has clenched many more titles and wins over the years. Today Bobby has the prestige of being the only driver to win both the NASCAR Winston Cup championship and the NASCAR Busch Series Championship. Bobby and his brother Terry Labonte are also the only two brothers to have won the championship in NASCAR’s top series.
By the end of 2009, Bobby Labonte had 21 wins to his name, as well as featuring in the Top Five 114 times, and 199 times in the Top Ten. He is currently (2010) driving TRG Motorsports’ # 71, with TaxSlayer as its primary sponsor and Doug Randolph as his crew chief.
Auto Racing, like many professional sports, is also a business, and like all businesses certain financial factors need to be taken into account for the good of the sport. Number one is the fans – those who pay for race tickets and merchandise. Fans drive the sport of auto racing, literally. If auto racing events are well-attended and race merchandise is flowing off the store shelves, then the various auto racing organizing bodies such as NASCAR, the Indy Racing League and F1 have a lot of money with which to advertise and promote their events.
Advertising and promotion are directly related to the second factor – sponsorship. Operating an auto racing team is a very expensive proposition, and the costs can run into the millions of dollars. Formula One is the most expensive racing sport, since F1 teams must construct their own cars instead of simply buying off-the-shelf parts. How is it all paid for? Sponsors. Companies pay – and pay very well in the case of winning drivers – to have their logos and products emblazoned on a race car driver’s car and uniform. Even the events themselves may be sponsored, and often are: the Busch Series, the Molson Grand Prix of Toronto and the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 are just a few examples. Here are some of the topics we’ll be elaborating on to assist you in learning about the business of auto racing:
The Industry – Race car manufacturers and component suppliers are squeezed between the desire to win at all costs and the need to conform to rules and regulations that can change suddenly. It’s a roller-coaster ride, and we’ve got the latest scoop on how the winds of change are buffeting the auto racing industry.
Services – A modern auto racing team simply cannot function without the various services that they depend on to keep their cars performing at a fine edge. Many such services are offered to racecar owners and drivers.
Sports Book and Betting – Gambling on sports events is a multi-billion dollar business, and racing fans are no different than other sports fans when it comes to putting their money on the line. Learn more about the world of sports wagering – it’s a fascinating science whether or not you’re a participant.
The sport of auto racing, despite its massive popularity, faces a number of key business challenges – not least of which are how it develops and grows in the future and how it can retain the interest of those who follow its twists and turns both on and off the race track. Here at Autoracing.com, our challenge is to provide our visitors with the finest, most up-to-date information on racing. We invite you to not only learn about the auto racing business at Autoracing.com, but also to contribute to our site for the benefit of auto racing fans everywhere!
Together with brother, Kerry, Dale Earnhardt Jr, bought a street car from a junkyard. The brothers built the car into street stock car, and Dale Earnhardt Jr started racing in the street stock division at the early age of 17. This is where his professional driving career started, which isn’t all that surprising, as racing is in his blood, with his father already a well known name around the tracks. Dale was a natural, and it only took him two seasons to move up to the ranks of NASCAR, in the Late Model Stock Division. This move saw Dale racing on tracks like Hickory Motor Speedway, Nashville Speedway USA, Florence Motor Speedway and Tri-County Speedway. His career was underway, and by his third year in NASCAR Winston Racing Series, Dale had managed to secure 113 starts, he had won three races and had taken twelve poles.
The year 1996 turned out to be his best up to then. Dale Earnhart Jr had made 53 starts, won two races, grabbed eight poles and finished second at Florence, in points. This year also had Dale start his career in the NASCAR Busch Series. His first effort was a job well done, as he had qualified 7th, and on race day, he finished in 14th position.
The year 1998 was an exciting year for Dale Earnhardt Jr. He started his first full season in the NASCAR Busch Series, and his first race was the NAPA 300, which took place at the Daytona International Speedway. Unfortunately for Dale, his first race did not go as planned and he was involved in a wreck, thankfully walking away unharmed. On 4 April 1998, at the Coca-Cola 300, which was raced at the Texas Motor Speedway, Dale Earnhardt Jr, proudly took first place. But it was the announcement that took place on 21 September 1998, that Dale had been waiting for. His potential had been spotted by Budweiser, and they had agreed to sponsor him to drive in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series.
Dale Earnhardt Jr, followed in the footsteps of his father, but with his own style, grace and confidence, that secured him his own fan-base and a career apart from his father. Dale Earnhardt Snr in turn, supported his son, and was happy to just be the proud father and play a supporting role in his son’s career. Tragedy struck this close bond in 2001. It was the first race of the new racing season, and fans were terribly excited as Michael Waltrip won the race, Dale Earnhardt Jr came in second and third place was to be Dale Earnhardt Snr. This is an ending fans only dream about, and the atmosphere was electric. But on the last lap, Dale Earnhardt Snr crashed his car, and lost his life in the sport he loved, and in a position he was proud of, supporting his son. The tragic loss not only tore through a family, but broke the heart of every supporter.
As his father would have wanted him to, Dale Earnhardt Jr continued to achieve in in this fiercely competitive and fast-paced sport, becoming a legend in his own right. By the end of 2009, Dale Earnhardt Jr had 18 wins to his name, with 89 finishes in the Top Five, and 144 in the Top Ten. His last win was the 2008 Lifelock 400 Sprint Cup at Michigan International Speedway. He qualified second and finished second in the 2010 Daytona 500. He set the record for the fastest recorded qualifying time (28.76) at 310.2 kph at Atlanta Motor Speedway in a Car of Tomorrow on 5 March 2010. There’s little doubt that fans can expect plenty of nail-biting action from this talented NASCAR driver in the months to come.