Jeb Burton ready to gain momentum
August 31, 2013, Zack Albert, NASCAR.com
BOWMANVILLE, Ontario -- Jeb Burton ranks third in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series standings with 13 races down and nine to go, making him an intriguing championship candidate in his first full season on the circuit.
Burton’s two pole positions and his first career win in June at Texas Motor Speedway have made him one of the most decorated drivers in this season’s impressive rookie class. But stellar finishes have been difficult to come by since his breakthrough victory. In the six races that have followed, Burton has just two top-10 finishes -- a ninth and a 10th.
“We’ve definitely missed it a couple of times, but the main thing is we’re running all the laps and learning as much as we can,” Burton said Saturday after practice at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, site of Sunday’s Chevrolet Silverado 250 (1:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1). “In the beginning of the season, I’ve been to the first five race tracks (before), and it obviously showed. We ran top-five, top-10 every race and won two poles. That’s helping us. This is a learning year. We’ve got to keep doing what we’re doing.”
Despite the slight drop-off, the 21-year-old driver and his No. 4 Turner Scott Motorsports team are just 53 points behind series leader Matt Crafton with plenty of time left to mount a charge. Having familiar tracks ahead on the schedule certainly helps.
“Hopefully, we can get back in the championship hunt,” Burton said. “We’re right there, but definitely we’ve been off a little bit. We notice that, and we’ve got some good tracks we’re going back to. I’m pretty excited about it.”
Foreign land: Rookie Chase Elliott proved he knows his way around Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, leading both Saturday practice sessions around the 2.459-mile road course. But challenge him to drive back home from southeastern Ontario without benefit of an atlas or GPS and he’d be lost.
“It’s been nice. I really have no idea where we are, to be honest with you,” Elliott said of his first trip to the Great White North. “If you looked on a map, I could not tell you where we were. I don’t know a whole lot about Canada, but they’ve got a pretty cool road course up here.”
Elliott will turn 18 in November, meaning his restriction on competing on ovals measuring more than a mile in NASCAR competition will end next season. That much is certain, even if his 2014 plans aren’t.
“As far as next year goes, obviously a lot of things are kind of still up in the air,” Elliott said. “Unfortunately, we’re not going to have (primary sponsor) Aaron’s with us next year, so we are kind of in pursuit of trying to find some different opportunities. And we’ll have to just see when it comes February.
Close quarters: All four Truck series drivers pulling double duty this weekend posted similar speeds in qualifying for Sunday morning’s NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race.
Chad Hackenbracht led the way, qualifying 13th in the 36-car field. He’ll start close by Truck series rivals Burton (14th), Ty Dillon (15th) and James Buescher (17th), all of whom rank in the top five in truck series points and are in the Canadian Tire event to gain valuable track time.
The 51-lap Clarington 200 race is scheduled for an 11 a.m. ET start.