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In his first full season of racing, Jeb Burton was third in the spring race at Martinsville Speedway.
JOEL HAWKSLEY | The Roanoke Times
Truck Series driver Jeb Burton waits during qualifying at Martinsville Speedway on Friday. In the spring race at Martinsville, 60 miles from his Halifax home, Burton claimed the pole and led a race-high 154 laps before finishing third.
JOEL HAWKSLEY | The Roanoke Times
Truck Series driver Jeb Burton sits fourth in the Camping World Truck Series points standings heading into today’s Kroger 200 and is the top rookie in the standings.
Friday, October 25, 2013
MARTINSVILLE — Jeb Burton’s first full season in the Camping World Truck Series was still in its infancy, but there was something decidedly different about the way the Halifax native viewed his abilities on the track.
That was nearly seven months ago. He walked down the cramped Martinsville Speedway pit road, mere moments before claiming his first pole in the series’ second race of the season, and never hesitated when talking about how much he had developed as a driver. The roar of each truck speeding down the front straightaway barely muffled his words, a testament that matched his confidence.
So it wasn’t a surprise Friday during his visit to the media center that he was tougher on himself for not getting the finishes recently to match his qualifying times for where he was racing at the beginning of the season.
“I put a whole lot of pressure on myself, and still do, to perform at a high level,” Burton said. “Our confidence is there. I feel like our team is the best overall speed in qualifying and practice. In the races, we haven’t been able to finish a lot of races like we need to. … Some other races, we’ve been really fast and haven’t gotten the result out of it.”
Burton, who is the son of Ward Burton and nephew of Jeff Burton, has overachieved this season, according to crew chief Mike Hillman Jr., with a series-best six poles and a victory June 7 at Texas Motor Speedway. He sits fourth in the points standings heading into today’s Kroger 200 and is the top rookie in the standings.
He, however, has not finished better than eighth since his victory.
“I think we set our goals a little lower than that at the beginning of the year. We were trying to be realistic and we didn’t want to expect to have to overachieve and set our goals too high,” Hillman said. “Well, we’ve overachieved from everything we thought we would do sitting down Jan. 1. You adjust your goals on a weekly basis. You’ve got to be careful not to ride the roller coaster — you can’t try to ride on the high and then when you’re low, stay in the low. You stay on an even playing field all the time. I think we can get another win this year and finish in the top five in points and do what we need to do to win rookie of the year. That will be way above all the expectations we set Jan. 1.”
Burton was a contender for victories during the season’s first five races as he returned to tracks he raced the year before on a limited schedule. The team had a solid notebook to build off of, which allowed the 21-year-old to run up front.
As the team visited new tracks, Burton had to adjust to find out what was going to help them the most. Burton announced he will run a full Truck Series schedule next season and will be a championship contender as he returns to tracks for a second and third time.
“We’ve overachieved this year,” Burton said. “Going to these tracks for a second time, like the Chicagos and Michigans that I’ve never seen, I think we’ll be really good next year. I’m excited for the future.”
Today’s race is one Burton wants to win as he views Martinsville as his home track, 60 miles from his home in Halifax. He claimed the pole in the spring, led a race-high 154 laps and finished third.
“ We circled this one on the calendar,” Hillman said.
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