Jeb Burton to drive ThorSport Truck at Daytona
February 06, 2014, David Caraviello, NASCAR.com
Jeb Burton found a ride for Daytona -- with the team that currently owns the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship.
ThorSport Racing announced Thursday that it signed the 21-year-old driver to a deal for Speedweeks, in which Burton would compete in the Truck Series opener at Daytona International Speedway in a No. 13 entry. The son of former Daytona 500 winner Ward Burton will also drive a car for ThorSport in the ARCA race on the 2.5-mile track.
Any additional races for Burton with ThorSport were yet to be determined, and would hinge partly on sponsorship. The rising star on the Truck Series lost his No. 4 ride at Turner Scott Motorsports last week, after that program was shut down because its former primary sponsor defaulted on payment.
Based in Sandusky, Ohio, ThorSport has enjoyed a long and successful run in the Truck Series that culminated last season, when Matt Crafton won the organization's first championship and teammate Johnny Sauter won three races to finish fourth in the standings. The team also won the 2013 ARCA crown with Frank Kimmel.
"The opportunity to come to ThorSport is a big deal for me, my career and my family," Burton said in a statement released by the team. "It's an honor to me that (owners) Duke and Rhonda Thorson would make the call to put me in their vehicles -- the best there is in both series. Mr. Thorson has proven his commitment to the Truck Series -- he's a racer, that's what it's all about and it feels good to be here. I feel like it's a place where I can race, and win for many years."
Burton won one race and seven poles last season, his first full campaign on the Truck Series. The Virginia native completed 99.4 percent of the laps he attempted, and finished fifth in the final standings -- one spot behind his new teammate Sauter. He also finished eighth in his Nationwide Series debut.
"I can't tell you how great it is to get this deal done in a very short amount of time," ThorSport team manager David Pepper said. "This gives us a great driver that can win both the Truck and ARCA races over the next couple weeks. We've had our eyes on Jeb the last few years and one thing that really stands out is how well he gets along with Matt and Johnny and the respect they have for each other. To have the opportunity to get Jeb into our ThorSport family of drivers is a great move for both parties."
Last week, Burton said he and his family were "devastated" by the shutdown of his No. 4 team at Turner Scott, which shaped up as a prime contender for the championship. He and his father Ward spent the ensuing days working the phone, trying to put a deal together. Burton's No. 13 truck for Daytona will be backed by Carolina Nut Company, and ThorSport hopes to find funding to field him in additional events.
"Having Jeb join the ThorSport family, without question, gives us the strongest driver lineup in the Camping World Truck Series and a talented young man that gives us an opportunity to win another championship," said Matt LaNeve, ThorSport vice president of corporate partnerships. "We are actively seeking sponsorship and feel like his team and our organization have a lot of value to any potential partner."