Sponsorship woes leave Jeb Burton scrambling again for a NASCAR ride


CHARLOTTE – For the second consecutive January, a sponsorship implosion suddenly has Jeb Burton scrambling for a NASCAR ride with only two weeks before the season.

A deal to keep him in a ThorSport Racing Toyota recently fell through for the Camping World Truck Series driver, who finished eighth in the 2014 points standings.

“We worked hard trying to return at ThorSport, and we just couldn’t get the details worked out,” Burton told MotorsportsTalk in a phone interview Wednesday morning. “So the result of that is I don’t have a ride right now for this race season. I have no clue what I’m going to do to get back on the racetrack.

The news comes exactly a year after sponsorship trouble knocked Burton from a ride with Turner Scott Motorsports.

“I looked on my calendar, and it’s actually the same day I was released (last year),” he said. “It’s been like a nightmare all over again.”

Burton landed with ThorSport a week later, and the part-time ride eventually grew into full time. His prospects seem bleaker this season.

“We’ve got a couple of people we’re talking to, trying to get something worked out so I can get on the racetrack, but at this time, I don’t have anything,” he said. “It’s so late in the game.”

The son of 2002 Daytona 500 winner Ward Burton and nephew of NASCAR winner/NBC Sports analyst Jeff Burton brings cachet with a well-known surname, and the South Boston, Va., native has produced results, too. He won at Texas Motor Speedway in April 2013 in the 12th start of his truck career, and he also captured seven pole positions in his rookie season.

He overcame a slow start last year and posted top fives in two of the final eight races.

I appreciate everything ThorSport did,” he said. “Last year in the same situation, they called and gave me an opportunity and a ride. … We got better throughout the year. I felt like if we’d had one more year, we could have been a top five-team every week.

“Hopefully everything happens for a reason. That’s what I keep telling myself. Hopefully a door will open up.”

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.