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Mar 06, 2014 - 04:42 PM
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ThorSport moves to Martinsville with Jeb Burton
Posted by: newsla on Mar 06, 2014 - 04:35 PM
ThorSport moves to Martinsville with Jeb Burton

ThorSport Racing, the 2013 drivers' champion team in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, will field a No. 13 Toyota Tundra for Virginia favorite Jeb Burton in the March 29 Kroger 250 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.


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Martinsville is the home track for Burton, a native of Halifax, Va., and was the site a year ago of his first career Keystone Light Pole Award in the Truck Series. Burton, 21, won seven poles in 2013 and the season-long NCWTS Pole Award.

ThorSport hired Burton last month to drive at Speedweeks 2014 at Daytona International Speedway. In his 28th career Truck Series start, Burton had an impressive seventh-place finish in his debut run in a ThorSport Tundra but the team is still seeking sponsorship to continue the season with Burton.

With Thursday's announcement, ThorSport's Tundras will be driven by the top-three finishers in last year's Kroger 250. Johnny Sauter won, 2013 series champion Matt Crafton posted the organization's third career one-two finish and Burton finished third, his career-best at the .526-mile oval, which he matched in the fall.

Martinsville is the second of 22 races scheduled this season.

"We were really impressed with Jeb, his ability to mesh with the team and the way he worked his way through that first race and had a respectable finish, which isn't easy at Daytona," ThorSport team manager David Pepper said. "We hope we can continue to build on the excitement Jeb and our team created at Daytona because we really need to get more support to continue racing this Tundra.

"At this point, we know Jeb will be driving our No. 13 Toyota and crew chief Dennis Connor will be leading his team. We're working extra-hard to get something to put on the side of that truck."

Burton made his Truck Series debut at Martinsville in the 2012 Kroger 250, where he started seventh and finished 13th. His first pole came in his seventh career start and his first victory, in June 2013 at Texas Motor Speedway, came in his 12th career start.

Despite the precocious beginning of his career, Burton definitely hasn't forgotten where he came from.

"Martinsville is a special place to me, whether it was racing a Late Model Stock Car, making my first start in the Truck Series and for sure, winning that first pole last year," Burton said. "That racetrack has meant a lot to my career and the fan support my entire family has gotten there has been really special to not only myself, but also my dad (2002 Daytona 500 winner Ward Burton) and my uncle (21-time Cup Series winner Jeff Burton), too."

The sporadic nature of the early-season Truck Series schedule works in ThorSport's favor as it tries to secure sponsorship for Burton's program but the young wheelman is doing his part. He left Daytona fifth in the championship and is aiming to improve his fifth-place finish in the 2013 Truck Series points race.

With Burton in the fold, ThorSport is fielding Toyotas for three of the top-five finishers in last year's championship, as Sauter was fourth, one point better than Burton.

The Kroger 250 is scheduled to be run on Saturday, March 29. Practice and qualifying for both the Kroger 250 and the NASCAR Winston Cup Series' STP 500 are scheduled on Friday, March 28.

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