Jeb Burton's terrible run of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series luck with his No. 13 Estes / Carolina Nut Co. Toyota Tundra continued Saturdaynight at Gateway Motorsports Park in the Drivin' For Linemen 200, resulting in an 18th-place finish .
For the fourth time in seven races this season, Burton "hit" a racing quirk, this time literally on about lap 107 when his Tundra careened out of control entering a corner and tapped the wall. At the time, Burton was running in the top 10 and, for the seventh time this season appeared to have a Tundra perfectly capable of finishing there.
"I have no idea what happened -- it was like something broke in the rear-end and my Estes Tundra just skated up the racetrack," Burton said on pit road after the race. "I don't know how I saved it from getting completely wrecked, but I guess that part of it was lucky."
Burton made it back to pit road, where crew chief Jeriod Prince called for four tires as well as making sure the rear bodywork wasn't rubbing. But in the course of the stop, one of the loose tires rolled out of Burton's pit stall, leading to a pass-through penalty.
After Burton drove down pit road to serve his sanction, his race was basically over as his Toyota was two laps behind the leaders. But that didn't prevent Burton from running laps as fast as the lead trucks, in the race's last 50 laps.
"I don't know what we have to do to catch a break but I do know, if we can ever lose the bad luck we'll be OK," Burton said. "Yeah, it's frustrating because we have Tundras that are fast, that can contend and Jeriod and the guys and I are communicating better and getting better, week by week.
"At some point, that's got to convert into results and I know we'll get there."
Burton, who is in his third season in the Truck Series but who was making only his 34th career start, saw Gateway for the first time on Friday, when the 32 entered teams had four hours of practice for the 14th Truck Series race in the track's history -- though the first since 2010.
When teams ran their fourth elimination-style Keystone Light Pole Qualifying session of the season on Saturday, Burton posted the sixth-best time.
His 18th-place finish knocked Burton back one spot in the championship standings, to 10th, even while ThorSport Racing teammate Johnny Sauter leapfrogged third ThorSport driver Matt Crafton to take over the point lead.
Crafton dropped to second in the standings after a flat fire sent him into the wall, out of the race and into a 26th-place finish and his second DNF in the last three races.
Burton's next race will be at Kentucky Speedway for a a unique Thursday night event on June 26.