JEFF BURTON (No. 31 Childress/Caterpillar Chevrolet, winner of last year's NASCAR Banking 500) 

In a press conference this morning in the Time Warner Media Center, Burton addressed several aspects of racing and the current season:

"I've always wanted to do this since I was five or six years old. I'm real fortunate to be where I am, doing what I'm doing. I think we've made a swing in getting all three teams to run better. We're not there yet, but we're gaining on it.

"This year's Chase has the makings of being similar to the previous couple of years. This thing could change drastically in the next couple of races with Martinsville and Talladega coming up. The changes we made at RCR allowed people to concentrate on things they were best at and knew more about. We had to regroup, and we thought this was the best way to do it. We're playing catch-up right now. We haven't done a lot of testing. Goodyear testing is a necessity, but I'm not happy with some of the things they do or how they do it. Goodyear tire testing always has been a good thing.

"You never get the just dues in the sport from people who you compete against."

UNC Charlotte Announces Alan Kulwicki Foundation Donation 

In the first press conference of the day held in the Time Warner Media Center, officials from the University of North Carolina Charlotte announced a gift of nearly $1.9 million to the university's engineering school, from the estate of the late NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Alan Kulwicki.

A trust fund set up by the late driver's stepmother, Thelma H. Kulwicki, will benefit the motorsports engineering department on the UNC Charlotte campus. Also, Kulwicki's alma mater, the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, will receive nearly $630,000 to create the Alan Kulwicki Memorial Student Center in the university's engineering building.

Kulwicki's former championship crew chief, Paul Andrews, was present for the announcement.

"I am truly honored to be here to help make this announcement," said Andrews. "I worked with Alan and know what kind of person he was. Alan was the first champion with a college degree."

Also present at the announcement was Bob Johnson, Dean of Engineering at UNC Charlotte.

"We have to thank Thelma Kulwicki for this donation," said Johnson. "We have run out of space for students. So, Thelma you are providing space for students that we couldn't possibly accommodate ourselves. There is also a fund to support the building of race cars. As you can imagine, it is expensive to get the right kind of hands-on experience. This gift will help us build a lot of cars and support our other programs."

There are currently more than 100 students enrolled in the program. Several former scholarship winners were at the announcement, along with several of the race cars built by the school's students. The scholarships have been awarded since 1994. About 10% of NASCAR team engineers have come from the UNC Charlotte program.