Jeff Burton to drive MWR’s part-time No. 66 in 2014

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Michael Waltrip Racing has announced that Sprint Cup veteran Jeff Burton will test and drive a select number of races for its third, part-time program in the 2014 season. Several media reports toward the tail end of this past year had Burton linked to such a role with MWR.

Burton, who finished his tenure with Richard Childress Racing at last month’s season finale at Homestead, will begin testing the No. 66 MWR Toyota next Monday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and his first race is slated for March 9, 2014 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“We were extremely fortunate to have a driver as experienced and respected as Jeff Burton come available,” said team co-owner Rob Kauffman in a statement. “He will be able to have an immediate impact as we continue to strive for that last one percent that separates champions from contenders.”

Burton will test until late January 2014 for MWR full-time driver Brian Vickers, who continues to recover from a blood clot in his leg that knocked him out of competition back in October.

“These are great people who have dedicated themselves to become winners at the highest level,” Burton said of his new team at MWR. “[Team co-owner] Michael [Waltrip] and Rob are so committed to success and I wanted to be a part of that.

“I’m excited to do something new and will work hard to help the other two teams compete for wins and a championship.”

Additional 2014 events for Burton, who recently surpassed 1,000 career NASCAR national series starts and has won 21 Cup races, will be announced “in the coming weeks” according to MWR.

Shortly after the announcement, Vickers expressed his happiness over Burton’s decision to join his squad on Twitter:

MRTI: Telitz gets creative to help racing career

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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To say that Belardi Auto Racing’s Aaron Telitz has endured a difficult start to the 2018 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season would be an understatement. The Wisconsin native only completed four corners through the first three races – Races 1 and 2 at St. Petersburg, and Race 1 at Barber Motorsports Park – with St. Pete being especially problematic.

He took the pole for Race 1, but a crash during qualifying for Race 2 prevented him from actually starting. What’s more, the damage was so severe that the Belardi team needed a brand new chassis, with Telitz’s Dallara IL-15 damaged beyond repair.

They also had to borrow a car from Carlin for Race 2, but Telitz’s race ended after he got tangled up with Victor Franzoni in Turn 2 on Lap 1.

With the damage bill well into the six figures as a result, Telitz has taken to some unique, or rather, creative ways to raise money in the aftermath to help cover the costs. “Creative,” in this case, meaning Telitz is using his art skills.

An artist in his spare time, Telitz has begun selling his own original paintings to help raise money.

 “I’ve been to a lot of art shows and I see stuff and I go, ‘Holy cow, someone’s going to pay a thousand dollars for that thing?’” Telitz quipped in a story posted on the Milwaukee Journal.

In discussing his artistic abilities, Telitz added, “I’m working at getting better. I’d like to be able to paint some animals, those types of things. I got a request from Alexander Rossi to see if I could paint his dog. Unfortunately I can’t do that yet.”

Further, in a partnership with The Styled Garage, Telitz is selling his own merchandise, and accepting donations, to help his cause.

Telitz finished fourth in Race 2 at Barber on Sunday, and sits seventh in the Indy Lights championship, 59 points behind leader Pato O’Ward.

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