Martinsville pole win a Burton family celebration
April 06, 2013, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com
MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- The son was crying, the father was yelling. And while it wasn’t bedlam, it was close.
“I knew if I got the pole, I was going to be emotional,” Jeb Burton said, shortly after earning the No. 1 qualifying position for Saturday's Kroger 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway. "Anywhere, but especially here.
“It means something to me. I live it, I eat it, I sleep it. If I’m not running good, I’m not sleeping at night. It’s just a passion of mine.”
Burton, 20, will be making only his seventh career start in the NCWTS. Before Friday’s track record-breaking qualifying run, his best start was seventh, which he accomplished on three occasions.
But this one was different. This one came at Martinsville, a tiny, flat and unforgiving half-mile that the South Boston, Va., driver considers his home turf.
“It means a whole lot to me and my family,” an emotional Burton said afterward. “It’s really cool for my sponsor -- they’re out of South Boston, too. I worked really hard to get here.”
Burton, whose No. 4 Turner Scott Motorsports Chevrolet is sponsored by Arrowhead, a brand of electronic cigarettes, needed only one lap to post his pole-winning speed of 96.666 mph.
“I had a little bit more (for) the second lap,” he said, “but there was no need to push it. I was just glad to get it and come in (to the pits).”
Darrell Wallace Jr. (Kyle Busch Motorsports) will start on the front row alongside Burton.
Timothy Peters (Red Horse Racing), Daytona winner Johnny Sauter (ThorSport Racing) and German Quiroga Jr. (Red Horse) completed the top five. (See full results.)
Ward Burton, Jeb’s father, was atop a pit box watching the action on the track when his son sped to the top of the scoreboard.
The elder Burton said he had clocked the warm-up laps of those qualifying ahead of his son, “and Jeb was a tenth (of a second) faster than anybody,” he said.
“Those times computed to their speeds on the real (qualifying) laps,” Ward Burton said. “So when he ran that 19.90 (lap), I was thinking, ‘Man, if you back that up …’. “And he did. He damn sure did.”
Ward Burton said he was yelling so loudly when his son won the pole that five-time Sprint Cup driver Jimmie Johnson, who had won the pole for Sunday’s Cup race earlier in the day, came over because he thought someone had fallen off the pit box.
When Johnson realized what the yelling was for, Burton said, laughing, “he was the first to congratulate me.
“Watching him be successful on the race track means more to me than anything I ever did on the race track,” said Burton, a former standout who counts a Daytona 500 victory among his five career Cup victories.
“All we ever wish for our children is for them to be successful and happy. Jeb’s been through a lot. I didn’t have the resources that he needed to really get him the kind of seat time and experience he needed to get to this point. But he always had the raw talent.
“He’s going to have his bumps like everybody does, even the veterans. He’s got a lot to learn, but he’s got all the talent in the world. He’s got great resources, a great sponsor with Arrowhead; we’re just lucky to be here, tickled to death that we are and him being successful while we’re doing it.”
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