Jeb Burton has been through a lot over the past few months. However, all the turmoil which the 21-year-old has experienced has gotten a lot easier with the announcement which was made on Friday morning.
Burton was announced as the full-time driver of the No. 13 Estes Toyota Tundra for ThorSport Racing. Entering the year, he was scheduled to race his second year in the Camping World Truck Series for Turner Scott Motorsports, but his sponsor made a default on their payments, and there went his chance to race for that organization. ThorSport Racing originally picked up the son of 2002 Daytona 500 champion, Ward Burton, for the season opener at Daytona. However, after an impressive run to start off the year, the team kept finding funding to run him at each race – enabling them to have time to complete the deal with Estes for the remainder of the season.
“I kind of had the carpet ripped out from under me,” Burton said during a press conference on Friday. “Everything happens for a reason. If that wouldn’t have happened, I wouldn’t be with these good people I’m with now.”
Locking up a deal with ThorSport means plenty to the Burton family. He is set to replace his father and his uncle, Jeff Burton, as he attempts to tame the NASCAR ranks, and looks to become the first Burton to win a championship in the top-three NASCAR divisions.
Since making his Truck Series debut in 2012, Burton has 32 starts with 14 top-10 finishes. Comparing that to his father’s first 32 starts in the Nationwide Series, Burton actually has had more success, but that’s because he didn’t experience as many mechanical issues as his father back in 1990 and 1991.
Now that he has secured a deal, his father believes he is set to win races and contend for this championship. But thanks to the experience he had trying to find funding to race, Ward says he has learned exactly what to do to interact with people.
“It is very difficult (getting funding). You have to approach it and make it a financial benefit to your company. Here you are – this is the way you are going to interact with sponsors and new customers and businesses. You can use racing to take advantage of all the three-dimensional opportunities that racing presents.”