- Last Updated on 11:16 PM 04/05/13
- BY Joe Chandler
Jeb Burton knew he had a fast truck. The Halifax resident proved it by topping the field in Friday’s practice session for Saturday’s Kroger 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway.
Burton knew he needed to validate it later Friday afternoon in qualifying time trials that would set the field for Saturday’s 250-lap race around the paper-clip-like half mile oval.
And, he knew it would be an anxious, nervous wait as he would be the final driver to make a qualifying run. The wait was well worth it.
Driving an Arrowhead sponsored Chevrolet Silverado, Burton needed only one lap to shatter the Martinsville Speedway qualifying record with his lap of 19.589 seconds and 96.666 mph and win his first career pole in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Burton’s pole win came in his seventh career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event.
“I was crying like a baby when I got out of that Truck,” Burton remarked.
“This means a lot to me and my family. It’s really cool that my sponsor, Arrowhead, is from South Boston, too. It’s awesome. There is no other word to explain it. I won practice and won the pole. Now I’ve got to go out and finish the deal by winning the race.”
Burton said that while he knew he had a fast truck, he didn’t know if he could win the pole.
“I knew my first lap was pretty good, but I was prepared to run the second lap,” Burton explained.
“I knew I had another tenth (a tenth of a second) in it because I messed up a little bit the first lap. When the guys came on the radio as I was going through turns one and two on the second lap and said back it down I got kind of choked up. It (the emotion of winning the pole) hit me once I got back to the pit and I saw how excited the guys on the team were.
“I didn’t know if we could get the pole this weekend or not,” added Burton.
“But, I knew we would be good because these guys at Turner Scott Motorsports bust their butts on this truck and they believe in me.”
Burton’s father, 2002 Daytona 500 winner Ward Burton, who is set to be inducted into the Halifax County-South Boston Sports Hall Of Fame Saturday night, was as excited as his son.
“I was up on the No. 39 (team) box and I had clocked everybody’s warm-up lap and Jeb was a tenth (of a second) faster than everybody,” the proud dad pointed out.
“(Multi-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion) Jimmie Johnson was down below me, and I was screaming. He came over there thinking somebody fell. He was the first one to congratulate me.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” the elder Burton added.
“There are no words to describe it. When you see your child do well, there is no emotion to compare that to.”
It was a family affair for the Burtons as NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jeff Burton, Jeb’s uncle, was there to see his nephew win his first career NCWTS pole.
“That’s pretty impressive,” Jeff Burton said of his nephew’s record-breaking pole win.
“To come here to Martinsville Speedway and sit on the pole in his seventh Truck race is a helluva neat deal. It’s cool to see how excited he is. Jeb shouldn’t take this for granted. I think a lot of people take this stuff for granted. He doesn’t. He appreciates his opportunity and appreciates being here. It’s really cool to see. He could hardly hold tears back. That’s a cool thing.”
Fellow NCWTS Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Darrell Wallace Jr. will start next to Burton on the outside of the front row in Saturday’s race. Former South Boston Speedway Champion Timothy Peters of Danville will start third.