In just his second NASCAR Camping World Truck Race, rookie Jeb Burton wheeled his No. 27 State Water Heaters Chevrolet home in the 11th position at the return of the famed Rockingham Speedway. After some challenging practice sessions for the rookie driver, along with a 27th place qualifying effort - his race was one of hard-fought positions, quick reflexes and instinct, and a "racer's intuition" that seemingly runs in the family with dad Ward.
Starting in the back of the pack, Burton showed his patience and determination by pushing through six lap positions in just two laps before the race's first caution flag. Quiet on the radio as the green fell on lap nine, Jeb went back to business - hammering through top-5 lap speeds as he powered to the 13th position by lap 28; and 11th position by lap 43. Told to manage his tires and baby the throttle by crew chief Trip Bruce, Burton became a quick study - executing a conservatory tire management strategy that many veterans have yet to learn.
Quiet and strong on the radio, Jeb's only major communication was that he was free. On lap 62 under the race's second yellow flag condition, the team elected to pit for four tires and two cans of fuel - while Burton also received the Lucky Dog award to regain the lead lap. A blessing and a curse at a short track, the driver was placed at the back of the longest line - in this case, the entire field of active trucks, but remaining in the 11th position. Unphased, Burton went on to run lap times as fast as the leader for the remainder of the race, plus power back to the lead 10 trucks in the field. After holding the 10th spot for almost 30 laps, he eventually took the No. 27 State Water Heaters Chevrolet past the checkers in 11th position.
"I really wanted a top 10, but I know I'm not supposed to say that," said Burton. "I'm always trying to be my best, and this was definitely a challenging track for me during practice and qualifying. I'm the hardest on myself. I'm really proud of all my guys who worked hard on this truck, and Trip and my dad for being great guides here. Sometimes I have to remind myself that this is only my second time out here. It's still a learning process. I'm looking forward to taking this momentum to Kansas - I need to focus now on the bigger, fast tracks and it's good to have a few good finishes under my belt on the short tracks going in."
Jeb Burton PR