Burton Hoping First Time’s a Charm at Gateway

Jun 13, 2014

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Jeb Burton took advantage of four hours of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice Friday at Gateway Motorsports Park to find a comfort zone in his No. 13 Estes / Carolina Nut Co. Toyota Tundra.

On Saturday, Burton hopes to put that comfort into practice as a contender in the evening’s Drivin’ For Linemen 200, NASCAR’s first national event at the unique, 1.25-mile oval since July 2010 and the 14th Truck Series race here since 1998..

Burton has only 33 starts in his three-year NCWTS career but enough of them have come on tracks with at least some resemblance to Gateway, a relatively flat racetrack — to give Burton a certain amount of optimism.

“Practice Thursday — actually, driving into the racetrack that morning — was the first time I’d ever seen Gateway,” Burton said. “I managed to find some video that I watched, but it was nice to have a couple hours of practice to get warmed-up.

“The best part of the day was we just kept getting better. That’s something that Jeriod (Prince, crew chief) and me and the guys have been able to continue doing — and that’s really important for keeping our program growing and improving and getting faster every weekend.”

Thursday’s opening two-hour practice, held in conditions that will be close to Saturday afternoon’s Keystone Light Pole Qualifying session, was a real positive for Burton.

Gateway has been likened to Burton’s home track, the half-mile Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. But since it’s three-quarters of a mile longer, the speeds are obviously higher and setup tweaks more critical.

“Jeriod made sure we made a lot of laps on used tires,” Burton said. “Doing that we were able to get a good handle on a couple things — how the tires fell off, what we could do to adjust for that and just what it takes to be fast here.

“We made gains all day so it gave us a good baseline for qualifying and we’ll really have something to tune on Saturday morning.”

Burton ran 27 laps in the first two-hour practice, which was the fourth-most of the 27 drivers that took times. A lot of his runs were on older tires but on his last lap of the session Burton turned his fastest lap of the day and the third-best of the session, in 33.232 seconds, an average speed of 135.412 mph.

“That was a good effort because we had some speed in our Estes Tundra and that our adjustments were having positive results,” Burton said. “We’re looking forward to Saturday, for sure.”

In the second two-hour session Burton ran 36 laps and turned his fastest, 33.445 seconds, midway through the practice on his 21st lap. He ended the session running three to four laps in close contact with Kyle Busch Motorsports’ highly-regarded teenager Erik Jones, who was unable to pull away from Burton in that run.

Saturday’s schedule opens with a 90-minute final practice, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET, with no TV scheduled. A one-hour public NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver autograph session — which will include Burton — is scheduled from 2:15-3:15 p.m., in the infield with access to the public

Then, the Truck Series’ fourth elimination-style, three-session Keystone Light Pole Qualifying event of the season goes green at 5:10 p.m. ET to set the starting lineup of up to 36 trucks. Live coverage is scheduled on FOX Sports 2 and Burton will be trying to extend his string of making the “pole round” in all three sessions held to date.

Saturday night’s 160-lap, 200-mile main event will be telecast live on FOX Sports 1 at 8:30 p.m. ET, preceded by The Setup pre-race show at 8. The live broadcast on MRN and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio begins with pre-race coverage at 8. Live timing & scoring for the weekend’s events will be at www.nascar.com.

Headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, Estes is a leading, full-service freight transportation provider offering a complete range of shipping solutions including LTL, time critical, volume & truckload, global and custom solutions. Founded in 1931 by W.W. Estes and still owned by the Estes family, today’s Estes is the largest, privately-held LTL carrier in the nation. With more than 210 terminals across the country and a global service footprint, Estes has grown into one of the most respected total-solutions providers in the industry.

ThorSport Racing, based in a state-of-the-art 100,000-square-foot facility in Sandusky, Ohio, is the longest-tenured NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team. ThorSport, which has run in the Truck Series since 1996, in 2014 will run the No. 88 Menards Toyota Tundra driven by 2013 drivers’ champion Matt Crafton, the No. 98 Nextant Aerospace/Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff/Carolina Nut Co./Curb Records Toyota Tundra driven by Johnny Sauter and the No. 13 Carolina Nut Co. Toyota Tundra driven by Jeb Burton in the Truck Series and the No. 13 Toyota Camry in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.