Jeb Burton’s return to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) took an unexpected turn late in Saturday afternoon’s Texas Roadhouse 200 presented by Alpha Energy Resources when a mechanical failure resulted in a 26th place finish.
Burton struggled with the handling of his No. 20 State Water Heaters / Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation Chevrolet throughout the race and despite a rash of radical changes to improve a tight race truck, the Young’s Motorsports team gave the Halifax, Va. native a valiant effort, but came up short.
Still, Burton was thankful for the opportunity to make his 51st career Truck Series start and first for the Mooresville, N.C.-based team.
“I want to thank State Water Heaters, Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation and the Young’s Motorsports team for giving me the opportunity to get back in a truck,” offered Burton.
“We qualified 21st and made some steady changes to our truck. We used track position to our advantage and even put our truck in the top-10 for a little bit.
“However, we kinda got bounced around there during the late going of Stage 2 and early in Stage 3 and couldn’t get the track position to recover. About 30 laps or so before we had the gear failure, I started smelling rear-end grease, but I thought it came from another truck, but ultimately – it was us.
“I’m just bummed. I wanted to do better for everyone. I don’t get too many of these chances.”
Despite the finish, Burton and his Chad Kendrick-led team had a lot to be proud of.
The team made significant improvements from practice on Friday afternoon to qualifying on Saturday and despite flexing some muscle during Round 1 of qualifying, the team ended up 21st on the starting grid.
From the drop of the green flag, Burton held his own.
With guidance from spotter and former NASCAR driver Mike Dillon, the No. 20 Chevrolet aggressively made its way forward.
A caution waved near the end of Stage 1 which allowed the opportunity for Kendrick not only the chance to adjust on Burton’s vehicle, but set the team up for some crucial track position for the start of Stage 2.
Maintaining a presence inside the top-15 during Stage 2, as the laps ticked away, the handling worsen on Burton’s Chevrolet bowtie and despite getting shoved from the bottom groove nearing the stage completion, Burton took 18th as the Stage 2 came to an end.
More changes to combat the handline woes were taken from Kendrick to start Stage 3.
Restarting 20th, Burton made great progression during the early laps, but with a lack of patience from his other competitors, the second-generation driver found himself on the wrong end of the bumper once again sliding back from 15th to 18th nearing 50 laps to go.
Less than 30 laps later, Burton’s truck began showing smoke forcing an unscheduled pit stop.
The Young’s Motorsports team deemed the problem terminal sending them to the garage 26 laps shy of the finish.
“I want to thank Jeb for doing a great job for us this weekend at Martinsville,” said Young’s Motorsports team principal Tyler Young. “He was giving nothing less than 100 percent behind the wheel – and something completely out of his control took him out.
“Hopefully, we’ll get another shot at working with him and we can make it up to him.”
Burton’s teammate Austin Hill also overcame handling woes with his No. 02 Outdoor International Ford and finished a respectable 16th place lead lap finish in his 10th start of the season.
Saturday’s 200-lap race also marked the first time that Jeb Burton raced his teenage cousin Harrison Burton in a NASCAR national series event. Despite Jeb Burton’s late race hiccups, Harrison finished a career-best fourth driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM).
Next up for the Truck Series is a return trip to Texas Motor Speedway, where Hill and Young will make up the two-car tandem in the Lone Star State in the Nov. 3 running of the JAG Metals 350 live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1), the Motor Racing Network (MRN) and SiriusXM Satellite Radio Channel 90. The green-flag is scheduled for 7:18 p.m. (CT).
For more on Jeb Burton, please visit JebBurton.com or click on his Facebook page. Burton is also active on Twitter. You can follow and Tweet with him @JebBurtonRacing.
Young Motorsports PR