NASCAR's Jeff And Kim Burton Through The Years

Kelly CrandallSenior Writer IAugust 31, 2008

Deep in the roots of NASCAR lie two very important components that help run America's fastest sport: emotion and family.

The emotion comes in many different forms: from many different fans expressing their passion from the stands, the drivers enthralled in their victory celebrations or in disgust with other competitors, and the team owner standing in the background relieved to be in the winner's circle again.

The hans device, gloves, helmets, heel guards, and punches have been thrown.

Paint, points, and hand gestures have been exchanged.

It's all part of the sport that we've come to know and love.

And with that we've also come to know the families involved in making stock cars run competitively: the powerful Frances', the Allisons, the four generations of Pettys, Earnhardts, Jarretts and Waltrips. We have the always entertaining Busch brothers and the popular Burtons.

Behind the Burton brothers are their wives, none more visible then Kim, Jeff's wife.

A trend has started to emerge, where not only are the drivers popular, but their wives are also being google and oogled.

Kim Burton's fame has come from her visibility on camera during the good times and bad; the camera picks up every emotion.

From the very beginning, and all the way through all five hundred of Jeff's Sprint Cup starts and Nationwide Series days, Kim has been there and been just as emotional as a driver.

Who can forget the image of a young woman running down pit road at Martinsville and jumping over the wall to get to victory lane?

When her husband is in position to win, she'll be on top of the pit box sometimes with fingers crossed, head bowed or sitting perfectly still, hoping, waiting for the checkered flag to fall.

If it does, just like the crew, she jumps on the pit box with an arm in the air. She's also cried.

On the other end, when trouble arises and points and a win are lost, Kim is equally as mad as her husband—slamming a water bottle or slapping the computer monitor shut.

NASCAR wives can play many different roles: the loving wife showing moral support on top of the war wagon, the pretty face in the victory pictures, or the driver's/husband's therapist.

Kim Burton is no different. In fact, she may be considered a hands-on wife.

"When things are going well, the home life must be just as swell, don't worry, no problems," as Billy Bass sings.

However, during the bad days and tough years, it makes many wonder what goes on and what's said behind closed doors. What does a husband say to a wife and vice-versa?

"We've been through the ups and downs and the ins and outs together," Kim says.

In 2006, when her husband returned to the top of his game after winning at Dover, Kim needed to make sure that Jeff knew he was still as good as he was when he won six races a year.

"Jeff's not the kind of guy that him coming out here and just racing makes him happy. He has to be competitive to make him happy. If he's not competitive, then he's looking to himself to say what's wrong."

So, as reported on, Kim led her husband to the trophy room in their home. "I took him in that (trophy) room and said 'Jeff, you have got to look around and realize what you accomplished. As long as you have a chance to go to a racetrack, you'll have a chance to do that again.'"

And he has.

He's won a race already in 2008, earlier this year at Bristol, where Kim was so excited, she hopped out of her chair.

Not only will he make his five hundredth career start at California, he has a chance to lock up his spot in the Chase for the Championship by finishing fifteenth or better.

As for his long-awaited return to victory lane at Dover in 2006, Jeff said of his wife: "She decided that it (the winner's trophy) needed to be somewhere else. Well of course I'm never home, so she went to do it herself. It's not a light piece, and my wife weighs all of 95 pounds. (She) tripped and fell on top of it, breaking it into 60 pieces...When she did it broke her ribs. It damaged her, destroyed the trophy, and it was quite a mess. The monster bit her."

Something tells me that it didn't keep her down for long and if Burton clinches his spot tonight, we may once again get a camera full of an emotional Kim Burton.