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.”
Follow me @JerryBonkowski