In his first visit to Chicagoland Speedway, Jeb Burton won his fifth Keystone Light pole award of the season and finished among the top 10 after leading 42 laps in Friday night's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) race. Equipped with a fast truck at the one-day event, Burton and his No. 4 Arrowhead team dominated the night until an unfortunate pit stop caused Burton to lose multiple track positions. The 21-year old rookie remained patient and fought his way back to a ninth-place finish in the EnjoyIllinois.com 225.
After ranking sixth fastest in the day's first practice session, Burton and his Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) team returned to the 1.5-mile track and immediately went to the top of the speed charts. Burton followed up his performance by laying down the fastest qualifying lap among the 36-car field. The 21-year-old Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender is now only two pole awards away from tying the current rookie record.
Leading the field under the Chicagoland lights, the No. 4 Arrowhead Chevy maintained track position for 43 laps despite an ongoing battle for first place with seasoned veterans Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch. After falling into second place, Burton reported that his Chevrolet Silverado was getting really tight on the bottom. As a caution arose on lap 48, crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. told Burton to save fuel and wait for pit road to open. In their first pit stop of the night, the No. 4 Arrowhead team applied four tires and fuel just before the jack lever stuck, forcing Burton to lose multiple track positions. Although discouraged, Burton and his team remained optimistic and by lap 60, Burton was back to racing among the top five.
As another yellow flag waved on lap 69, Hillman made a strategic call to return to pit road and give the No. 4 truck four new tires and a splash of fuel. Burton returned to the field in the 13th position, but due to another caution, he quickly fell out of the top 15 on the restart. Remaining patient, Burton climbed to the eleventh position just before another caution came out on lap 101. The No. 4 TSM truck returned to pit road for four new tires and a splash of fuel, placing him in eighth for the restart.
With 30 laps remaining, Burton was yet again running the fastest lap times on the track. In the final laps, the No. 4 truck continued to inch closer and closer to his TSM teammate James Buescher but was unable to catch him before the checkered flag dropped. Burton finished the EnjoyIllinois.com 225 in ninth place and remains fourth in the NCWTS Driver Point Standings.
"We just can't catch a break," said Burton. "We had the best truck tonight and I really thought we could finish the night with a visit to victory lane. We really needed luck in the pits tonight and unfortunately, things didn't go our way. I'm still proud of my team. We didn't go down without a fight. We raced and we raced hard."
Hillman told Burton and his No. 4 crew, "Good job tonight boys. This is all part of racing. We'll learn from this and move on to Vegas."
The NCWTS will take next weekend off before heading to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Smith's 350 on Saturday, September 28.Taking a break from his Chevrolet Silverado, Burton will make his NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) debut in the No. 34 Arrowhead Camero next weekend at Kentucky Speedway. All of the NNS action can be seen live on Saturday, September 21 on ESPNEWS beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET, followed by the Kentucky 300 at 7:30 p.m. ET.