South Boston News & Record
and Mecklenburg Sun
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SoVaNow.com / June 13, 2013Jeb Burton is busting out with Texas-sized confidence following his first career NASCAR Trucks series win.
Burton, capitalizing on very strong equipment from Turner Scott Motorsports, blazed to the checkered flag Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series feature race, the 17th annual WinStar World Casino 400.
Social media, including a message from local backer Kathy Farley, erupted as soon as Burton won the race. An enthusiastic group of local fans gathered at Tailgator’s in South Boston to watch the race live on Speed.
At the end, Burton’s parents, former NASCAR 2002 Daytona 500 champ Ward Burton and his wife, Tabitha, celebrated with gusto.
This is a big deal, a signature week in Burton’s race career. It’s one thing to string together a series of pole awards and top tens, but it’s another step forward to take the checkered flag. It’s an eye-opening performance for a rookie to take the checkered flag this quickly.
“It feels good, man,” Burton said.
“Excited to get back to a race track, try to do it again.”
Burton had to figure this week - savoring his first career win - was coming soon. Burton has excellent communication with crew chief Mike Hillman Jr., and first rate equipment.
“Me and Mike Hillman Jr. work really well together. Every week, we’re fast and we’ve got good chemistry there. Everybody’s having a good time,” Burton said.
“I knew I could do it. I just didn’t know how fast I could catch on to these tracks, because I don’t have a whole lot of experience. Everything’s awesome, man, three poles and a win in seven races. I don’t think you could ask for much more,” Burton said.
In the shadows, there are cynics watching Burton’s performance, although any reasonable judge would have to give this team an ‘A’ so far.
But there are those who note Burton did not have this level of success at South Boston Speedway in late models, even as he’s ahead of the curve in NASCAR’s no. 3 series.
“I’ve never had the resources in late model (like the current TSM operation) ... I’ve never had a team like I have now,” he said.
“No disrespect to those guys, but I’ve always had stuff go wrong in my late model stuff. A lot of times, we’ve had a bunch of stuff wrong on our race cars, not know it. The driver can’t make up for it. You’re only as good as what you’re driving.
“It’s just like (NASCAR Sprint Cup stalwart) Jimmie Johnson. If you put him in not a very good race car, he’s not going to be able to win,” Burton said. The late models are “ten times easier to drive than a (NASCAR) Truck, because it’s slower, it has more horsepower. Everything is totally different,” he said.
THE MOVE TO WIN: Burton had an electrifying final charge to seal the deal in Texas.
Burton led the final 24 laps, seizing the lead from Ty Dillon on a restart on lap 144 of the scheduled 167.
“I just took the corner away from him, getting in. I was able to arc the corner. We made a little bit of contact ... I got cleared down the back and had the lead at the restart.
“I thought I had it right then as long as my truck would keep on doing what it was doing,” he said.
“I was trying not to think about it and just focusing on the task at hand,” said Burton.
“The last 25 laps felt like a year and a half. It felt really long, just hoping a caution wouldn’t come out and we could finish the thing,” Burton said.
“I’m glad that (the race) stayed green, and we could finish the thing. It’s so cool we’ve got a hometown sponsor (Arrrowhead), giving their company national exposure,” he said.
Burton appreciates his relationship with his sponsor.
“It’s really cool. It feels really good,” Burton said. “Hopefully, we can go get some of these things and keep doing what we’re doing. Maybe we can get the big trophy at the end of the year.”
Burton is set to race June 27 at Kentucky next in the truck series. He plans to test at Kentucky two days this week.
“This team is clicking so good, everywhere we go, I feel like we can win. Just keep got to doing what we’re doing and get single digit finishes every week,” said Burton.
Burton won’t focus on the series championship run this early.
“Everything’s good on the points. We’ve got to keep single digits, run all the laps. We’ll be there, wait for them to make a mistake.
“I think it’s a little too early to talk about (the title hunt). We just need to keep focusing and not think about it. About ten more races, then we’ll start talking about (the championship),” Burton said.
VICTORY LANE AT TEXAS: “It was awesome ... I was really excited, a lot of hard work to get there, finally did it.
“A dream come true.”
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