Photo Credit: Tom Whitmore/Getty Images for NASCAR
By: Toby Christie – Follow on Twitter @Tobalical
You may not know it by hearing him talk, but Jeb Burton — the son of Daytona 500 champion Ward Burton — is a fast shoe on the race track. Burton has had a little taste of the truck series already in 2012 and he opened up some eyes for sure. However sponsorship woes have forced him to chase his dream from the sidelines for now.
But don’t count this youngster out, he is full of talent. Burton was kind enough to take time out of his busy short track schedule to sit down and talk with us about anything and everything, enjoy.
TC: You come from a family rich in racing history. Can you describe the pressure that is on your shoulders to be a success?
JB: Well there is some pressure on me because of my family like you said, but kinda try to block that out and try to be my own self. Definitely the pressure is still there.
TC: How hard is it being yourself among all of that pressure?
JB: Sometimes it gets tough when you’re not running very good and everybody expects you to be real fast. But usually we are pretty good. Sometimes I can get a little frustrated because I want to be a little better speed-wise because sometimes the car or truck won’t handle the way we need it to. But for the most part we’re usually pretty good.
TC: How has your little taste of the truck series helped you progress as a racecar driver?
JB: I think a whole lot. When I go back to late models now, it has definitely helped me a whole lot. It has just taught me to be more patient and take my time. How to drive them big heavy cars too you know? I liked it a lot, and I’d like to find some more opportunities so I can keep doing it.
TC: As far as rookie performances in the truck series go, you’ve been relatively clean, where did you learn to take care of your equipment?
JB: I kinda wish I could have been a little more cleaner. At Kansas I kinda made a boo-boo and that really hurt my stats and taking care of my equipment. At Dover it was just a racing thing. We were running ninth just got loose one time. I’ve just been thinking, “I’ve only got these five races, I need to use my head and not tear up my equipment.” You’ve got to think like you’re the one who has to fix it.
TC: It’s kind of a tightrope isn’t it? Being fast, but taking care of the equipment.
JB: Yes sir it is a little bit. No matter where you go you don’t want to be tearing up racecars, but that’s life that’s how it’s going to be.
TC: You’re searching for sponsorship to run more truck races, what do you have on the slate in the meantime?
JB: I’ll be running two different late model tracks. I’ll be running Ace Speedway in Darlington, South Carolina. I won six races there last year, and I’ve been going to South Boston a lot too. I came really close to winning a few races there (South Boston) last season.
TC: In your few truck series races you had a great crew chief to learn from in Chip Bruce, describe what its been like to learn from him.
JB: Me and Trip, we’ve really started clicking. It’s hard jumping in with a new crew chief, but we really started working good there. We started clicking, and he knew what I needed to be real fast. I’ve enjoyed working for him.
TC: Your dad (Ward) won five Sprint Cup Series races in his career. Over/Under time. Jeb Burton will finish his Sprint Cup career with more or less than five wins.
JB: You know I think if I could do that — if you could win one cup race you’ve really done something. There’s some people who’ve done it, but if you look at the guys who have gone without doing it, it opens your eyes quite a bit. If I could win five, I’d be happy but hopefully I win a whole lot more than that.
TC: Speaking of your father, how great is it to have a father who has been up the ladder you’re trying to climb, and how much has he helped you make it to where you are now?
JB: Well he’s the whole reason I’m where I’m at. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have ever gotten the opportunity to drive the truck and drive anything. So he’s the reason I’m where I’m at and he helps me a lot.
TC: What’s a fun fact about you that our readers might not know?
JB: I have a full-time job working at a transmission shop when I’m not racing. I race late models, and work on my own late models. I hunt and fish, and that’s about it. I race-hunt-fish.
TC: So you’re kind of a throwback racer?
JB: Yes sir.
TC: That’s awesome. What driver current or past would you most compare your driving style to?
JB: That’s a good question. I’m kind of aggressive, so maybe Brad Keselowski or Denny Hamlin.
TC: What is the number one thing on your racing bucket list?
JB: Win championships. I’d love to win a Truck, Nationwide and Sprint Cup championship. That is my ultimate goal, if I could ever run all-three series I would.
TC: If you could only take a Truck Series championship or one lone Sprint Cup win, which would you go with?
JB: That’s a hard question. Umm — probably the truck series championship. I think it depends on what Cup race it was though. If it was the Daytona 500, I’d probably take the Daytona 500, but outside of that I’d probably go with the championship.