From Open Wheels To Pro Cup Chris Burns Joins Northern Division Rookie Class Longs, SC--Before Chris Burns makes his first start in the Hooters Pro Cup Series, people will be saying, "He's come a long way." And, at first, they won't be...
From Open Wheels To Pro Cup
Chris Burns Joins Northern Division Rookie Class
Longs, SC--Before Chris Burns makes his first start in the Hooters Pro Cup Series, people will be saying, "He's come a long way."
And, at first, they won't be referring to his driving skills. Burns and his team, S&R Motorsports, will be making the trek from Oklahoma City, Okla., to run in the Northern Division of the Hooters Pro Cup Series in 2005.
But soon, people may realize that he's traveled more miles in his racing odyssey than any haul his team may face next season.
Burns, a native of Bethany, Okla., began racing 4-wheelers at 9-years-old in the Arena Cross Series. By the age of 15, Burns had wrapped up four AMA National Titles.
After turning 16-years-old, Burns stayed on dirt tracks, but he switched into wingless sprint cars instead of ATVs. And his transition was as smooth as a well-packed dirt track.
Burns took the track title at Oklahoma's State Fair Speedway in the wingless sprints before switching to the winged 360 Sprints in 1999.
"I've always wanted to race for a living," said Burns. "It's been my dream."
Now, Burns' dream has led him to run for Miller Lite Rookie of the Year honors in the Northern Division of the HPC Series.
"There's not a lot of money in [open-wheel racing]," said Burns. "I've always thought about making the switch to stock cars, but the opportunity never came around. Roger Leesekamp [team owner of S&R Motorsports] approached me and wanted me to drive for him in Hooters Pro Cup. It's a great opportunity, and we're going to take this seriously."
In order to ease the transition from dirt to asphalt, Burns will test four times before the start of the season and make a Southern Division start at South Georgia Motorsports Park prior to his Northern Division debut at South Boston Speedway. But with his diverse racing background, Burns feels his learning curve will be accelerated.
"I think the transition [from a Sprint car to Pro Cup car] will be easy," said Burns. "Being on dirt, you get a feel for the car, and that will help in the bigger cars."
While Burns' season will be his first in a stock car, S&R Motorsports does have some asphalt experience with Sheldon Leesekamp, son of Roger, behind the wheel. Sheldon will likely begin his Pro Cup rookie campaign in 2006.