Published on April 19th, 2011 | by Michael J Smith1
Burton, Caterpillar Re-Sign With Richard Childress Racing
Richard Childress Racing announced that Jeff Burton has signed a multi-year contract extension to remain as the driver of the team’s No. 31 Chevrolet. Sponsor Caterpillar has also reached an agreement to continue its partnership with Burton and the No. 31.
Team owner Richard Childress said:
Cat Racing has proven to be successful both on the track, with Jeff and his team’s achievements, and off the track, with the creative programs provided to its customers. We look forward to building on the success of the partnership between Caterpillar, Jeff Burton and RCR for years to come.
I’m excited to continue my relationship with both Richard Childress and Caterpillar. Over the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with a lot of great people at Caterpillar and I look forward to providing their employees, dealers and customers continued success both on and off the track. Continuing my career at RCR was a top priority for me and it’s great to have the support of Caterpillar behind us.
Bill Finerty, of Caterpillar, said:
We are very pleased to continue our relationship with Richard Childress Racing and Jeff Burton. Cat dealers, customers and employees all take pride in watching the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet compete at a high level in the Cup Series.
Burton began driving for RCR in 2004, in the No. 30 American Online Chevy. He took over the No. 31 the following season, with sponsorship from AT&T Mobility.
In 2009, Caterpillar came on board, after AT&T exited the sport due to NASCAR’s exclusive deal with Sprint Nextel. Under that deal, teams could not feature sponsorship from Sprint’s competitors ( wireless carriers).
Cingular, RCR’s original sponsor, was purchased by AT&T. AT&T sought to put its logos on the car, as it re-named the Cingular brand to AT&T. This was, NASCAR and Sprint argued, against the rules because the grandfather clause in the contract between Sprint and NASCAR that allowed Cingular to remain on the car did not cover a name and logo switch.
After a court battle, AT&T and NASCAR reached an agreement that put AT&T logos on the car, but mandated that the sponsor leave the sport before 2009 season.