Confirmed: Jeb Burton to drive No. 26 Sprint Cup car for BK Racing

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Less than two weeks after he was released from his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series ride by ThorSport Racing, Jeb Burton confirmed to NBCSports.com Sunday afternoon that he has accepted an offer to drive the No. 26 Toyota Camry for BK Racing in the Sprint Cup Series.

An announcement will be made Monday at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in downtown Charlotte, N.C.

“It’s really exciting for me and my family,” Burton said. “I didn’t even know if I was going to race and then for BK Racing to give me a call and give me an opportunity and to believe in me to further my career and get me to the top of the racing world, it’s a dream come true.

“I’ve wanted to be in Cup ever since I was a little kid. Now I have an opportunity to do it, set some goals to win Rookie of the Year, try to finish top-25 in points and go to Daytona (500) and make the field, have a good day and keep my nose clean throughout the season.”

Instead of entering his second season with ThorSport Racing, Burton was released from his Truck ride on Jan. 28 when an agreement could not be reached on a new sponsorship deal for this season.

MORE: Sponsorship woes leave Jeb Burton scrambling again for a NASCAR ride

“I lost my Truck ride, and the next day I got a call asking if I’d be willing to drive a Cup car,” Burton said. “It’s pretty neat. It just shows everything happens for a reason. One door closed and another one opened. I think where I fell on the racetrack and off the racetrack, BK Racing saw something in me and it’s a great opportunity.”

Burton has never raced a Sprint Cup car before, and while Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway begins later this week, he’s prepared for a quick learning curve.

The first Sprint Cup practice session Burton will participate is this Saturday.

“I’ve just got to get up on the wheel and make things happen,” Burton said. “I’m excited, I want to learn as much this year as I can. I’m being thrown right into it, so I hopefully go out and impress some people.”

Burton’s racing experience impressed BK Racing’s owners.

“Ron Devine and I discussed a short list of potential drivers for our No. 26 entry,” BK Racing co-owner Anthony Marlowe told NBCSports.com. “I made initial contact with Jeb with the help of friend James Buescher. Ron, as our majority owner, handled the deal.”With mentorship from JJ Yeley and and Daytona 500 Champion Ward Burton, we believe his learning curve will be reasonable. Fifty-five percent of the time, in major NASCAR series races, Jeb has finished in the top 10. He has finished an insane percentage (more than 92 percent) of his races running. He’s very talented, marketable, and committed to be loyal for years to come. We also believe the crew chief we have paired Jeb with, Patrick Donahue, is very talented.”

Everything has happened so quickly, but Burton says he’s ready for the next chapter of his racing career.

“You have to go in with the mindset knowing you have to have some goals,” he said. “Our goals right now are to make the (Daytona) 500, keep our nose clean and run our laps. If we can do that, we’ll have a successful Daytona trip, and that’s what we’re going down there to do. We’re going down there to make the race and do our job.

“My guys back at the shop are working their butts off right now so we can be really prepared. All through practices and in the new qualifying format and in the Duels, we have to stay out of trouble and miss those wrecks. We can’t be tearing up race cars and that’s our goal.”

Jeb Burton is the son of 2002 Daytona 500 winner Ward Burton and nephew of former driver and now NBC NASCAR analyst Jeff Burton.

Jeb Burton finished fifth in his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rookie season in 2013 with Turner Scott Motorsports (including earning his first career win at Texas). A payment dispute with the sponsor forced the team to fold before the 2014 season.

Shortly thereafter, Burton was thrown a lifeline by ThorSport Racing to drive the No. 13 for the full season, eventually finishing eighth, only to be released once again due to a sponsorship issue.

“I had a great year in 2013, had a great team and felt in 2014 I was going to win the championship with that team – and then I lose that ride,” Burton said. “Mr. Thorson at ThorSport gives me a call to drive that truck and we get better for the rest of the year.

“This year, I’m thinking if we can get better and go run for the championship – and then lost that ride. Then I didn’t have anything and now I’m rebuilding with another team.

“Hopefully, I can have a home at BK Racing … (and) this can be something good for BK Racing and myself, get things like they ought to be and get to the next level.”

Burton would not reveal sponsors for the No. 26 Toyota, but USA Today’s Jeff Gluck is reporting that primary sponsors will be Dr. Pepper and the Maxim magazine’s fantasy sports app.

Burton, 22, has 49 career Truck Series starts with one win, seven top-five and 19 top-10 finishes, He also has two Xfinity Series starts with one top-10 finish.

“People have seen that I can drive, they believe in me and that means a lot to me,” Burton said. “Hopefully, I won’t disappoint them. We’re looking forward to this season, and I definitely think we’re going to turn some heads.”

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

World of Outlaws release 2023 Sprint Car Series schedule

2023 Outlaws Sprint schedule
World of Outlaws
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The 2023 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series schedule features 87 races, almost identical to the last year’s number, to be contested at 36 venues across 19 states. With cancelations for mostly weather, they closed out this year’s calendar on November 5 with 69 events in the books. Carson Macedo won a series high 11 races.

In 2022, David Gravel chased Brad Sweet into the three-race finale on the Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway in one of the most hotly contested championships in Outlaws history. Sweet emerged victorious for the fourth straight year.

For the 19th consecutive season, the Outlaws Sprints will begin their season at Volusia Speedway Park for the DIRTcar Nationals from Feb. 9-11 and will return March 5-6 for another two-day show before hitting the road with a three-track swing into Pennsylvania to take on the Posse.

MORE: 2023 World of Outlaws Late Model Schedule

“Every year we continue to build the best schedule we can for drivers and fans across the country,” said World of Outlaws CEO Brian Carter is a series release. “I’m excited for the journey we’ve put together, which includes the biggest races in Sprint Car racing, our new Spring Swing through Pennsylvania, the thrill of combining the World of Outlaws and ‘Bike Week’ and so much more.”

Some tracks returning from hiatus and one brand new course include 81 Speedway in Park City, Kans. in April and again in October, Tri-City Speedway in Pontoon City, Ill. in April, Ogilvie (Minn.) Raceway in June and BAPS Motor Speedway in York Haven, Penn.

BAPS hosts its first race in more than 30 years when the track was known as Susquehanna Speedway. This midweek show will give the local Pennsylvania Posse 14 attempts to beat the traveling Outlaws.

Ogilvie Speedway is completely new to the series and makes it the 224th different venue they will have challenged.

MORE: Brad Sweet protects his place in history

Notably missing from the calendar are Vado (N.M.) Speedway Park, Cotton Bowl Speedway in Paige, Texas, Bakersfield (Calif.) Speedway and the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt Track.

In addition to the new spring Pennsylvania Swing, the second date at Volusia Speedway will coincide with Daytona Beach’s Bike Week and bring new eyes to the sport.

Knoxville Raceway adds another multi-night show to the calendar in April, giving this track eight sanctioned events in 2023.

And of course, there are plenty of mainstays and high dollar events, such as the Memorial Day Spectacular at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway, the 35th running of the Brad Doty Classic in July and the Labor Day Spectacular at Gray’s Harbor in Elma, Wash.

Several big paydays are on the line in 2023 including the 40th annual Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio paying $175,000 to the winner, the Huset’s High Bank Nationals’ $250,000-to-win finale and the grandaddy of them all, the 62nd Knoxville Nationals with a total purse exceeding $1 million.

2023 Outlaws Sprint Schedule

Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 9-11 – Volusia Speedway Park (Barberville, FL)

Sunday-Monday, March 5-6 – Volusia Speedway Park (Barberville, FL)
Friday-Saturday, March 10-11 – Port Royal Speedway (Port Royal, PA)
Friday, March 17 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Saturday, March 18 – Lincoln Speedway (Abbottstown, PA)
Friday, March 24 – Talladega Short Track (Eastaboga, AL)
Saturday, March 25 – Magnolia Motor Speedway (Columbus, MS)
Friday, March 31-Saturday, April 1 – Devil’s Bowl Speedway (Mesquite, TX)

Friday, April 7 – US-36 Raceway (Osborn, MO)
Saturday, April 8 – 81 Speedway (Park City, KS)
Friday-Saturday, April 14-15 – Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 (Pevely, MO)
Friday-Saturday, April 21-22 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Friday, April 28 – Tri-City Speedway (Granite City, IL)
Saturday, April 29 – Tri-State Speedway (Haubstadt, IN)

Friday-Saturday, May 5-6 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Wednesday, May 10 – Lincoln Speedway (Abbottstown, PA)
Friday-Saturday, May 12-13 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Friday, May 19 – Attica Raceway Park (Attica, OH)
Saturday, May 20 – Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Friday-Saturday, May 26-27 – Atomic Speedway (Chillicothe, OH)
Monday, May 29 – Lawrenceburg Speedway (Lawrenceburg, IN)

Friday, June 2 – River Cities Speedway (Grand Forks, ND)
Saturday, June 3 – Ogilvie Raceway (Ogilvie, MN)
Friday-Saturday, June 9-10 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Friday-Saturday, June 16-17 – Beaver Dam Raceway (Beaver Dam, WI)
Wednesday-Saturday, June 21-24 – Huset’s Speedway (Brandon, SD)
Friday, June 30-Saturday, July 1 – Cedar Lake Speedway (New Richmond, WI)

Friday, July 7 – 34 Raceway (West Burlington, IA)
Saturday, July 8 – Wilmot Raceway (Wilmot, WI)
Tuesday, July 11 – Attica Raceway Park (Attica, OH)
Friday-Saturday, July 14-15 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Wednesday, July 19 – BAPS Motor Speedway (York Haven, PA)
Friday-Saturday, July 21-22 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Saturday-Sunday, July 29-30 – Weedsport Speedway (Weedsport, NY)

Friday-Saturday, Aug. 4-5 – Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 (Pevely, MO)
Wednesday-Saturday, Aug. 9-12 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Thursday-Saturday, Aug. 17-19 – Jackson Motorplex (Jackson, MN)
Friday, Aug. 25 – River Cities Speedway (Grand Forks, ND)
Saturday, Aug. 26 – Red River Valley Speedway (West Fargo, ND)
Thursday, Aug. 31-Saturday, September 2 – Skagit Speedway (Alger, WA)

Monday, Sept. 4 – Grays Harbor Raceway (Elma, WA)
Thursday-Saturday, Sept. 7-9 – Silver Dollar Speedway (Chico, CA)
Friday, Sept. 15 – Keller Auto Speedway (Hanford, CA)
Saturday, Sept. 16 – Placerville Speedway (Placerville, CA)
Friday, Sept. 22 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Saturday, Sept. 23 – Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Friday-Saturday, Sept. 29-30 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)

Friday-Saturday, Oct. 6-7 – Port Royal Speedway (Port Royal, PA)
Friday, Oct. 13 – 81 Speedway (Park City, KS)
Saturday, Oct. 14 – Lakeside Speedway (Kansas City, KS)
Friday-Saturday, Oct. 20-21 – TBA

Wednesday-Saturday, Nov. 1-4 – The Dirt Track at Charlotte (Concord, NC)