Wheel Failures Slow Burton’s Dover Progress in Estes Debut

May 31, 2014

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Jeb Burton recovered from a violent accident in Happy Hour practice caused by a wheel failure on his No. 13 Estes Toyota Tundra early Friday afternoon at Dover International Speedway by salvaging an 18th-place finish in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ Lucas Oil 200.

Burton suffered an additional failure in the race, which caused no further damage to his back-up Estes Tundra. That was critical as that Toyota is the team’s primary weapon for next weekend’s race at Texas Motor Speedway, where Burton is the defending champion.

Burton fell two laps behind after feeling a wheel failure coming but having to pit under a green flag. He fell as much as five laps behind as crew chief Jeriod Prince and his team cautiously assessed the status of Burton’s Tundra after the second failure of the day.

After that, at one point Burton was turning lap times on the “Monster Mile” that were faster than eventual winner Kyle Busch and his primary chaser, Burton’s ThorSport Racing teammate Matt Crafton.

Between them Crafton and Busch led 196 of 200 laps but being as quick was small consolation to Burton.

“It was frustrating because our Estes Tundra was fast — plain and simple,” Burton said in a quiet moment after the race. “You never want to play defense at a race track and it’s especially hard when Jeriod and the guys put together a Tundra — a backup Tundra — as good as we had.”

Burton lined-up 12th after Keystone Light Pole Qualifying was replaced by the fateful early afternoon “Happy Hour.” He started from the back of the field for using a backup Tundra and never really had a chance to show its full potential.

He had raced up nearly into the top 15 before a repeat of the wheel issue, resulting in deformation that caused the bead on the tire in practice to break and deflate the tire with catastrophic results. Burton finished the race on wheels borrowed from his teammates.

Crafton, who came into the event leading the championship became the second ThorSport Racing driver victimized by a wheel failure after he ran either first or second for more than three-quarters of the race.

Both teammates were sore, but otherwise OK after their initial medical assessments. Burton’s heartache was more difficult to measure as a large contingent from new full-time sponsor Estes Express Lines was on hand to cheer on their team.

But one positive was a continuation of the progress the team, which has been together for five races this season, has shown. Burton goes to Texas in ninth in the championship but going to a track where he won in June and won the pole in November.

“Yeah, we can take something positive out of this — we have to,” Burton said, shaking his head. “We’re going to a track where I’m real comfortable and man, we’ve run well at Kansas and Charlotte — two other mile-and-a-half tracks.

“If Jeriod and I and the guys keep working together like we have been and the trucks keep getting better and we don’t have any more bad stuff happen to us, we can get back into this (championship) race.”

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.