Burton Settles for a Top-Three Finish at his Hometown Track
Returning to his hometown track for a second time in the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) season, Jeb Burton fought hard to achieve a third-place finish in the Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway. The 21-year-old South Boston, Va. native was among the top-10 fastest trucks during both practice sessions, as well as qualifying, and was able to drive his No. 4 Arrowhead/Kangaroo Express Chevrolet across the finish line in third place.
With strong short-track racing roots, Burton and his Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) team had high hopes of redemption leading into this weekend's race. At the NCWTS's first appearance at Martinsville Speedway earlier this year, Burton claimed the pole award and led the most laps but ultimately finished in third place. "We really gave that one away," said Burton. The TSM team came equipped with the same truck that appeared in the spring and felt confident that together, the team could land the No. 4 in victory lane.
Burton used both of the weekend's practice sessions to get reacquainted with the short track and to find his rhythm. Although the No. 4 Arrowhead/Kangaroo Express truck had speed, the TSM team was faced with brake issues that caused Burton to experience a slight chatter in each turn. Despite the issue, Burton managed to qualify his truck in ninth place, remaining consistent with his practice times. As the green flag dropped for the Kroger 200, the first caution was quick to come and Burton told crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. that his truck was tight in the center. During a lengthy caution-free stretch, Burton and his No. 4 truck were running the fastest lap times on the track from within the top 10.
As the second caution came out on lap 69, Burton told Hillman that his truck felt loose all around and he was having trouble touching the gas. Hillman called Burton down pit road for four new tires, fuel and a few adjustments. Remaining in the top 10 for another lengthy stretch, Burton was once again running the same lap times as the leader. When the track went yellow on lap 129, Burton told Hillman that he was having issues with handling. Pitting under caution, the No. 4 truck received four tires, a splash of fuel and another round of adjustments. With 50 to go, the 21-year-old Rookie of the Year candidate had charged his way into the top five. Hillman and spotter Kevin Hamlin told Burton to be patient and remain on defense until it was time to be aggressive. Maintaining his top-five position after several restarts, with just 11 laps to go, a multi-truck accident occurred just in front of the No. 4 truck and Burton was able to squeeze by with minimal damage. Securing his position after the final restart, Burton took the No. 4 Arrowhead/Kangaroo Express truck across the finish line in third place.
"I wanted to win this race more than any of them," said Burton. "I'm disappointed because we were hungry for a win here after our run in the spring and I thought we could make it happen. We were faced with some issues that we didn't have here last time and my team worked so hard to try to make it right. It was a good points day for us and even though we were here to win, we'll take this third-place finish and use it as momentum going into Texas. I was really proud to race here at my hometown track in front of my family, friends and local fans. There's nothing like it."
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