Jeb Burton gets another trucks start at Martinsville for ThorSport

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After finishing seventh in the season-opening NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway, Jeb Burton will be back behind the wheel for ThorSport Racing later this month at Martinsville.

Burton, who finished  an impressive fifth in his first full season on the trucks series last season, unexpectedly lost his ride with Turner Scott Motorsports for 2014 when his team folded due to sponsorship withdrawal just six weeks before the start of the season.

But ThorSport threw the son of 2002 Daytona 500 champ and nephew of Sprint Car driver/NBC NASCAR analyst Jeff Burton a lifeline for Daytona, and he made the most of his opportunity with a strong showing with little preparation.

That performance convinced team owners Duke and Rhonda Thorson to bring Burton back for the Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29.

“ThorSport has given me a great opportunity and I appreciate everything they have done for me and my family,” Burton said. “Now we just need to keep running good.”

Burton earned his first Camping World Trucks race at Texas last spring and also won a season-high seven poles.

Martinsville was particularly good for him last season, as he finished third in both races there. He’s looking forward to returning there with new teammates Johnny Sauter and Matt Crafton, who finished 1-2 in last year’s spring race at Martinsville, with Burton finishing third.

“ThorSport has a really good team for this track,” Burton said. “Looking at the stats from last year, Johnny won this race, Matt finished second and I was third. Those are my teammates. I think I can learn from them.

“(Martinsville) is a short track and that’s one of my strengths. That has to help me, too.”

To do as well as he did last month at Daytona with limited testing and practice says a lot about Burton and his ability.

“We were really impressed with Jeb, his ability to mesh with the team and the way he worked his way through that first race and had a respectable finish, which isn’t easy at Daytona,” ThorSport team manager David Pepper said. “We hope we can continue to build on the excitement Jeb and our team created at Daytona because we really need to get more support to continue racing this Tundra.”

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Andretti Autosport picks James Hinchcliffe for last 3 races of season

Andretti Autosport James Hinchcliffe
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James Hinchcliffe will finish the NTT IndyCar Series season for Andretti Autosport, replacing Zach Veach in the No. 26 Dallara-Honda.

The team made the announcement Friday afternoon that Hinchcliffe will return after racing for Andretti at Texas Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Indianapolis 500.

Hinchcliffe, who also has worked as an IndyCar on NBC analyst and pit reporter, will race in the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida.

“It’s always unfortunate to have to change drivers this far into a season, but we have to look at finishing the year the best we can for the 26 team and start evaluating and looking at options for 2021,” team owner Michael Andretti said in a release. “James has an existing relationship with our team that we’d love to build on and it makes the most sense for him to step in for these last three races. We are looking forward to seeing what he can do.”

Hinchcliffe has a season-best finish of seventh in the Indy 500. He had been working on trying to put together a deal for next season after scrambling to secure a partial schedule this year when he lost his ride at Arrow McLaren SP after 2020 with a year left on his deal.

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“I know, probably better than most, what Zach is feeling right now, and I have to say that he has handled everything about as class act as you can,” Hinchcliffe said. “I’ve known Zach as a teammate, before that as a colleague and even before that as a friend, and he is a guy that I respect in every way. I know he is a fighter and will fight back to where he wants to be.

“For me now, my focus is 100% on racing the Harvest GP and getting the best possible results for Gainbridge, for Honda, for Michael and for the team. I obviously haven’t been on a road course in a while, but at least the last time I was, it was here at IMS! Hopefully that puts us in a good position to go out there and have a strong weekend.”