NASCAR driver comes to Peoria, unveils new Caterpillar car

By Beau Ebenezer

December 5, 2012 Updated Dec 6, 2012 at 10:49 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- NASCAR Driver Jeff Burton was at the Cat Visitors Center, unveiling the new car that is expected to "drive" many fans into attendance for the new season.

People came from all over the Midwest to see the brand new black and yellow street car, covered with the all-too familiar Caterpillar logo.

"I'm definitely a fan of what they're doing with the new cars. Looking more like the manufacturers' car that comes off the showroom floor," said Burton fan Wayne Kreps.

"Very. very exciting, because I love Chevrolet, for one. And I was glad to see Jeff get back into the Chevrolet," said NASCAR fan and Caterpillar worker, Jean Eichorn.

Caterpillar car driver Jeff Burton came to the visitor's center with team owner, Richard Childress, to unveil their new 2013, Chevy S.S.

Burton said he couldn't be happier to continue representing a company like Caterpillar.

"How many products in the world do people ride around with that product on their license plate, or wearing a hat? You see that with Cat, you do," said Burton. "You see people that take pride in owning Cat equipment or not even owning it but just operating it, building it, selling it, working on it. They take pride in it, and that's just an unusual thing."

Pride is just what retired Cat worker Dennis Latus has.

He made the four hour drive to Peoria from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, making it first in line to meet his favorite driver.

"We came down here. We've been standing in line for three hours so we can be the first ones in line. And it's great seeing these two guys, getting their autographs. And I happen to be a Caterpillar retiree, and I served the tool and dye apprenticeship with Caterpillar years ago, and it's good to come home," said Latus.

The new Caterpillar car is the first of its kind since the older Impala model that dated back to 2008. Burton's new car will eventually take the place of the old model at the Caterpillar Visitor Center.

The new Chevy model will undergo testing in North Carolina next week.

Burton hopes the new and much lighter models will make the races more exciting, with tighter races on long tracks.

The new car makes its first debut in February at the Daytona 500.

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