Ward, Jeff and Harrison Burton all have NASCAR Xfinity Series victories at Martinsville Speedway. This weekend, Jeb Burton looks to do continue the family tradition.
Martinsville holds a special spot in the hearts of the Burton family, who hail from the South Boston area. Jeff won what was then the Busch Grand National Series race at the .526-mile paperclip-shaped short track in 1990 driving the No. 12 Buick for team owner Sam Ard. Ward earned his victory in 1993, leading 227 of the 300 laps in the No. 2. Jeff recorded a total of 27 race victories during his time in the series, while Ward drove into Victory Lane on four occasions.
Then fast forward to last year when the Xfinity Series made its first stop to Martinsville since 2006 when Kevin Harvick triumphed. It was Jeff’s son, Harrison, who took home the grandfather clock in the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Jeb finished fourth during his part-time effort in the No. 8 JR Motorsports Chevrolet.
Jeb feels even more confident this time around.
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“I know I can do it and I know my team can do it,” Jeb said. “That’s my best track so that would be pretty awesome. Harrison definitely had a really good car last time. I didn’t have anything for him that last race. I think that would be pretty special if we could get that done. Four different family members to do that, I don’t think anybody would ever do that again.”
While Jeb wasn’t even a year old when his father won Martinsville, his most special moment at the track came in 2013 when he earned the pole and finished third, noting it was a really emotional day for the father-son duo.
Jeb looks to make more Martinsville family memories in the Cook Out 250 (resuming Sunday at noon ET on FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.) The Halifax, Virginia native is in his first full-time season driving the No. 10 Chevrolet for Kaulig Racing, currently sitting sixth in the drivers’ standings with three top-five and five top-10 results in six races.
If you need a seal of approval that Jeb is setting himself up for long-term success, look no further than his teammate AJ Allmendinger, who raced with Ward in the Cup Series for a period of time.
“He’s (Jeb) very passionate,” Allmendinger said. “I’ve followed his career over the duration of me being in NASCAR. … He’s an easy guy to get along with, that’s the biggest thing that stands out to me.
“It’s hard to fit into a race team when you’re the new guy. I’ve been there off and on for obviously three years. Justin (Haley) has been there for three years. …When there’s no practice for the most part and you don’t have any testing, it’s a challenge to get up to speed right away and he hasn’t been full time in a while. I think he’s doing a fantastic job.”
As he continues to jell with a new team heading into Martinsville, Jeb feels that it would almost be a disappointment if he doesn’t win given how he’s in a more secure position than sharing a part-time ride a year prior. Now he looks to reverse the roles and beat his cousin to make history.
“The last time I went there I knew I had a job for next year,” Jeb said. “We’d hadn’t announced our deal yet, but I knew I had this opportunity, so that helped me a lot there. Now, if something happens, we can go get ‘em next week. Where before, if something happens, I have to wait for two months to drive again. That was the biggest thing.
“It just relieves a lot of the stress, but the pressure is still there. I want to perform for me, my family and all my partners. I’m doing everything I can on and off the track to be better.”