In his NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) debut, Jeb Burton impressed with a hard fought eighth-place finish at Kentucky Speedway
SPARTA, Ky. (September 22, 2013) - In his NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) debut, Jeb Burton impressed with a hard fought eighth-place finish at Kentucky Speedway. The 21-year-old NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) regular and championship contender hit the 1.5-mile track in the No. 34 Arrowhead/Kangaroo Express Chevrolet Camaro with hopes of a top-10 finish, but things took a turn for the worst when the weekend's two practice sessions were drastically effected by rain in the area. With just 20 laps of experience in his NNS car, Burton managed to qualify the No. 34 Camaro in 13th position. After many tight battles in the Kentucky 300, Burton and his Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) team crossed the finish line in eighth place, far exceeding expectations for their NNS debut.
Retuning to the speedway under clear skies on Saturday, Burton took a shot in an unfamiliar racecar and managed to qualify in 13th position for the Kentucky 300. As the green flag dropped, the No. 34 car quickly jumped into the top 10 and remained there until a competition caution came out on lap 27. Burton came down pit road to receive four tires, fuel and a small adjustment, restarting outside the top 10. The young driver communicated to crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. that he was extremely tight and it was clear because Burton quickly dropped to 18th position. Hillman told Burton to keep racing hard and they would take a big swing at the adjustments during the next pit stop. Remaining out during the second caution on lap 38, the track went yellow again on lap 62, giving the No. 34 team an opportunity to make changes. After receiving four tires, fuel and making both air-pressure and wedge adjustments, Burton restarted among the top 15 but fell to 17th position, remaining there throughout a long green-flag run.
By lap 107, the yellow flag had dropped again and the No. 34 Arrowhead/Kangaroo Express car visited pit road to receive four new tires, fuel and a track-bar adjustment. After another caution arose, Burton reported that the car was still tight all around but felt like it was coming to life. Hanging inside the top 20, Burton and another competitor made contact during a long green-flag run, forcing the sixth caution of the night to arise. Burton received the free pass from NASCAR and quickly climbed back into the top 15 before another caution on lap 175. Hillman called Burton down pit road to receive four tires, fuel and repair minimal damage to the No. 34's nose.
With 20 laps remaining, Burton radioed to Hillman, "I'm really loose and feel sideways like I did at Eldora. This is fun!" Following two more cautions, Burton managed to gain multiple track positions on the restarts and a top-10 finish quickly became a reality. The impressive 21-year old rookie crossed the finish line in 8th place in his first-ever NNS race.
"This race was a lot of fun," said Burton. "The style and feel is completely different from trucks. I think if we had gotten more time in the car during practice, we could've run in the top five. But hey, for getting only 20 laps in the car before racing it, I think a top-10 finish is a win for us. I'm really thankful for my Turner Scott Motorsports team. Today just showed how hard working and awesome these guys are. We learned a lot, had fun and now we're even more ready for Vegas."