The ultimate bad boy move isn’t to smash guitars and fly the bird at NASCAR officials. A real badass would make everyone think he’s the nicest guy in the garage, but secretly reign as NASCAR’s most legendary bad boy. Here are the telltale signs that make Burton the bad boy.
It’s The Long Con: Classic Fake Nice Guy
Ever since winning the Winston Cup Rookie of the Year in 1994, Jeff Burton has been on the long con. Burton has spent the last 16 years saying all the right things, mentoring younger drivers, gaining the respect of his peers, all in pursuit of his nefarious plan. All those years of service raising funds for the Duke Children’s Hospital, his work to make the sport safer for drivers and crew members and his award as NASCAR Illustrated’s 2007 Person of the Year all go to prove the lengths Burton will go to fool people. He’s just been waiting all this time to spring the trap as the most notorious bad boy on the circuit.
Burning Desire to be the "Top Jeff"
Everyone knows the title of "Top Jeff" is valued second only to the Sprint Cup Championship. The coveted title has been traded between both men over the last two years (Gordon bested Burton in the standings in 2009, but Burton had Gordon’s number in 2008). Gordon and Burton have sparred on the track, in the garage and sometimes in abandoned parking structures for the title of Top Jeff. Burton has used his "good guy" image to torment Gordon the last few races, trying to close the gap between them and take over the lead in the "Jeff" race. Just like Highlander, there can be only one.
Jeff Borrows DVDs and then Doesn’t Give Them Back
They say one can’t consider themselves a true NASCAR driver until Jeff Burton has borrowed a DVD form you, not returned it and then was incredulous when confronted about it. Burton was able to play it off because of his reputation for being an honest, stand-up guy, but secretly he leverages his "good guy" persona to borrow DVDs and never return them.
Burton Pops the Collar
Bad boy 101: always turn up your collar. If the Revenge of the Nerds movies taught us nothing else, it’s that the villain always pops his collar. It worked for The Terminator, Mickey Rourke and Dennis Rodman. The combination of sunglasses and a popped collar is a clear indication of Burton’s nefarious plans to become NASCAR’s premiere bad boy.
Roots for the Heat, the Cowboys and Claude Lemieux
In the modern era, can there be any more clear of an indicator of someone’s deviousness? Rumor has it that Burton roots for the trifecta of sports evil: the Miami Heat, the Dallas Cowboys and every hockey team Claude Lemieux has played for. For shame, Jeff Burton.