Roush Racing has confirmed that engineering company SKF will continue its sponsorship of Jeff Burton, the #99 team and Roush Racing through 2004.

In addition, SKF will expand its sponsorship to become primary sponsor of the #99 Ford for the February Rockingham race and March Atlanta race.

"We are certainly excited to have SKF and Chicago Rawhide as part of our team in 2004," Burton said, "The #99 team is looking forward to carrying the SKF and Chicago Rawhide logo on our car, not only for Rockingham and Atlanta, but as an associate throughout the year. They have been with us for six years and we are looking forward to another exciting year with them as part of our team."

Founded in Sweden in 1907, SKF is headquartered in Gothenburg, with technology centres in the Netherlands, Italy and the United States.

"SKF is pleased to continue its involvement with Jeff Burton, Jack Roush and the Roush Racing organisation as a sponsor of the #99 Ford Taurus," confirmed automotive division president George W Dettloff, "Additionally, SKF is proud to continue playing a role in the success of Roush Racing, not only as a team sponsor, but also as a supplier of engineering knowledge and services. SKF engineers draw on a vast knowledge base from R&D facilities located around the world to assist Roush in competing among the world's most talented motorsports organisations."

The announcement of SKF's sponsorship demonstrates the interest that has been generated among many potential sponsors for Burton and the #99 team for the 2004 season and beyond. Geoff Smith, president of Roush Racing says it's only a matter of time before the car will carry a primary sponsor for the entire year.

"SKF helps us continue the positive momentum that is building around Jeff Burton's programme," Smith continued, "We, in turn, are committed to again helping SKF meet its marketing objectives."

Burton's season begins this weekend at Daytona, where he will carry another livery on the #99 Ford.

A one-race package with Turner Broadcasting ensures Burton will be fully backed in race one, but anything major beyond that is uncertain.

"It's certainly humbling," Burton, who went winless for the second straight season in 2003, told the River Bend Telegraph, "It's not the situation we want to be in. I'm old enough and wise enough to understand that all of us, in everything that we do, are in positions that we don't want to be in.

"I can choose to do one of two things. I can choose to pout about and whine and moan about it, or I can choose just to go and do my deal. I've made the conscious decision to not lay in bed worrying about it at night.

"When I go to bed and lay down I'm thinking about how to make the race team better and what do I need to do to be a better race-car driver. I don't like the situation that I'm in, but it is what it is and I've got to accept it and go at it head on. Anything less than that I think is doing myself an injustice."

Team boss Roush has vowed to run Burton's campaign out of his own pocket if sponsorship cannot be found, but the driver hopes that success at Daytona will swing things in his favour financially.

"I'm really excited about the 2004 season," Burton continued, "The #99 NBA All-Star Game on TNT Ford is the coolest car out there and we are looking forward to taking it to the front. Daytona is a fast track, but it's not usually the fastest car that wins. Most often it's a matter of being in the right place at the right time and that's exactly where we want to be."



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