Jeff Burton won't be driving for Richard Childress Racing after this… (Paul Sancya / Associated…)
Veteran driver Jeff Burton said Wednesday he won't return to Richard Childress Racing after this year to keep driving the No. 31 Chevrolet in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series.
Burton, 46, said he previously told RCR that he planned to stop driving a full schedule after next year.
But now the car does not have enough sponsorship for all of next season so "we're just accelerating [his departure] a year earlier," he told reporters on a teleconference call.
"To ask Richard to run a year underfunded, you can't do that," Burton said. "The timing is right to make a change."
Burton said his leaving also would enable RCR to hire a driver, and attendant sponsorship, for the long-term.
RCR already was in transition. Its drivers currently are Burton, Kevin Harvick and Paul Menard, but Harvick already has announced plans to move to Stewart-Haas Racing next year.
It's expected Menard could be joined next year by Childress' grandson Austin Dillon, who's currently driving in NASCAR's second-level Nationwide Series, and there's speculation the team might also add Ryan Newman, who is looking for a ride after not being resigned by Stewart-Haas for 2014.
"I still want to race, no question," Burton said, but the Virginian added that he did not yet have specific plans for 2014.
Burton has been a full-time Cup driver since 1994 and has been with RCR since mid-2004. He has 21 wins in 680 career starts.
But Burton has struggled in recent years. He hasn't won since late 2008 -- a stretch of 174 races -- and he's currently 22nd in the Cup standings.
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