Dear Jeff Burton,
As Daytona approaches, I want to write this letter to show my appreciation. When I first began watching NASCAR in 1999 I was 7 years old, and I had no idea who to follow. There were no “teams,” no one from my state (Minnesota), and it was a completely different beast than any other sport I knew about. I chose to follow the 99 car since it was 1999, and I couldn’t have made a better choice for a driver to follow.
You probably don’t remember, but I met you at a Cingular store in Las Vegas in 2005. My Dad handed you a phone to talk to my Mom back home, and you chastised both of them for having Verizon instead of Cingular. It is a great memory, and I’m happy to have it and to have had the chance to meet you.
As the 2014 season approaches with the announcement that you’ll be running a partial season and will be transitioning into the broadcast booth, I can’t help but look back and think over the many memories. The race in Vegas with Kyle Busch, the fight with Jeff Gordon, winning at Daytona. I also remember your work to advance the sport and to promote advances in safety over the years. NASCAR would be different without you, and I look forward to what comes next.
I don’t know that you’ll ever read this, but anyone who does should know how great a person you are, as well as a great competitor. I was as happy for you winning the NASCAR Illustrated Man of the Year as I was for any race you won, because I knew it was well deserved. While you may not run a full season again as you look to transition to the broadcast booth, you will always be my driver. Thank you for being such a wonderful role model, as well as a great driver and man.