Burton Earns Top-10 Finish After Setting Michigan Track Record with Fourth Pole of 2013
Jeb Burton put on an impressive show in his first visit to Michigan International Speedway, breaking the track's qualifying record en route to his fourth pole of the season. After dominating the first half of the Michigan National Guard 200 and leading the most laps of the race, Burton's went on to finish 10th, his seventh top-10 finish of 2013.
After honing in on the setup of the No. 4 Arrowhead Silverado in the weekend's two practice session, Burton set a record-breaking 38.760-second lap in qualifying, earning his fourth pole of the season and laying down the fourth-fastest pole-winning speed in the history of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS). Once the green flag waved, Burton demonstrated the dominance of his truck, pulling out to a multi-truck length lead until a caution on lap 17 tightened the pack. Crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. called his 21-year-old driver onto pit road for their first pit stop of the day, making a strategic call for fuel only. Burton returned to the track with the lead, and once the green flag waved on lap 32, he once again pulled away from the trucks behind him.
Burton battled against veteran driver Kyle Busch on the restart, but maintained the point position. The rookie relayed to his crew chief that he may need more rear security center off on a long run, and Hillman Jr. promised that they'd take care of that on their next visit to pit road. Burton's lead waned over the course of the next 10 laps, and he surrendered the top position on 45. Burton radioed that his truck was coming back to him, but he was scored in the fourth position when the third caution flag of the day waved on lap 51. The No. 4 team performed a four-tire stop with fuel and an air-pressure adjustment, and the Arrowhead Chevrolet returned to the track in the sixth spot.
Once the field got back up to speed, Burton explained to his crew that he was still too tight in traffic, and he slipped all the way to the 12th position before the caution flag was displayed on lap 76. With nothing to lose and handling to gain, Hillman Jr. called Burton onto pit road for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment to loosen up the No. 4 Chevrolet. With most of the leaders choosing to stay out under yellow, Burton returned to the track in 13th with 11 laps remaining.
Despite the adjustments and fresh tires, Burton expressed that he was still extremely tight. A caution flag bunched up the field for the final time on lap 92, and when the flagger signaled the final restart, Burton battled hard through four-wide racing. The young driver was able to pick up three spots in the closing laps, crossing the start/finish line in the 10th position, his seventh top 10 of the season.
"This definitely wasn't the finish we came for," said Burton. "We had a really fast truck that was very capable of winning the race, but some things just fell off at the end. I had a pit stop where I probably could have gotten off pit road a little faster, and combined with how tight we got at the end, we just couldn't get there. A top 10 is still good for us in the points and I'm proud of my guys for how hard they worked all weekend. Winning the pole with a speed four-tenths faster than second was extremely cool, and I have to thank a great team for giving me a truck that fast. I don't have a lot of time to dwell since Bristol is right around the corner, so hopefully we'll be able to redeem ourselves with a win there."
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