Inside the Jeff Burton/No. 31 Daytona private team meeting
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - There is not a lot that is particularly newsworthy about a prerace team meeting but it is an important part of the race day procedure nevertheless.
If nothing else, it establishes a rhythm and sense of repetition, important for a grueling 38-race campaign.
Today's meeting at Daytona International Speedway begins with the Kwikset No. 31 team huddled around crew chief Luke Lambert in the tight corridor of the CAT hauler. The driver (Jeff Burton) is on the other end of the corridor but close enough to be able to interact with Lambert without physical obstruction.
Lambert goes over the basics first -- their pit window (around 37 laps), the team's intent to work with Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 team and a brief reminder to take notice of where the 47 and 30 teams are during the race as they occupy the neighboring pit stalls.
With the meeting of the minutes addressed, it is the driver's turn to speak to his team. It opens with a thank you but immediately gets to the business of the evening.
"I'm just going to feel it out early," Burton said. "I've been in two superspeedway crashes this season and I'm hoping everyone is a little more patient tonight."
Burton continues, talking about his likely decision to force an opening during the race, calling it a "devil on one shoulder/angel on the other" scenario.
Lastly, Lambert closes the meeting with a reverential prayer and reminds everyone to remember why they are here tonight.
"To drink beer," one team member sarcastically quips.
Should Jeff Burton make it to victory lane, a lot of beer is sure to be spilled indeed.
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