- Last Updated on 07:46 AM 02/10/14
- BY From Team AND Staff Reports
After a frustrating month in which he lost his ride in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series as a the result of a sponsor defaulting on a payment, Jeb Burton is seeing new light at the end of the tunnel.
Sandusky, Ohio-based ThorSport Racing, one of the top teams competing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, has signed Burton to drive its No. 13 Carolina Nut Company-sponsored entry in the season-opening NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Daytona International Speedway.
In addition, Burton will drive the ThorSport Racing entry in Saturday’s season-opening event for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards at Daytona.
In Saturday’s race, Burton will be driving a Toyota Camry for the team that won the 2013 ARCA drivers’ and owners’ championships and was a large part of Toyota winning last season’s ARCA manufacturers’ title, its first in that series.
The following week, on Friday, Feb. 21, Burton will jump into the No. 13 Carolina Nut Co. Toyota Tundra in the NextEra Energy Resources 250.
“I am extremely appreciative of Duke and Rhonda Thorson giving me this opportunity,” Burton said.
“They have very good equipment and good people surrounding their teams. Their ARCA car won the series championship and one of their trucks won the Truck Series championship last year.
“ThorSport won both restrictor plate races last year,” continued Burton, “and they won an ARCA restrictor plate race. I’m excited to go drive for them. The opportunity to come to ThorSport is a big deal for me, my career and my family.
“Mr. Thorson has proven his commitment to the Truck Series -- he’s a racer,” Burton continued.
“That’s what it’s all about, and it feels good to be here. I feel like it’s a place where I can race, and win for many years.”
Burton joins a driver lineup that includes 2013 Truck Series champion Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter, who finished fourth in the championship, one point ahead of Burton.
“Having Jeb join the ThorSport family, without question, gives us the strongest driver lineup in the Camping World Truck Series and a talented young man that gives us an opportunity to win another championship,” ThorSport vice president of corporate partnerships Matt LaNeve said. “We are actively seeking sponsorship and feel like his team, and our organization have a lot of value to any potential partner.”
The balance of Burton’s 2014 program will be determined, in part by gaining additional sponsorship.
Burton also said over the weekend that he is pursuing opportunities to compete in some NASSCAR Nationwide Series races. One of those opportunities, Burton said, is with JR Motorsports owned by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Burton has an impressive record in his first 27 Truck Series races -- a five-race schedule in 2012 and the full slate in 2013. He won the 2013 Keystone Light season-long pole award with seven poles -- including his first in his seventh career start.
Burton completed 99.4 percent of the laps he attempted in 2013. Burton won his first Truck Series race in his 12th career start, in June 2013 at Texas Motor Speedway. Last season he also made his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut with an eighth-place finish at Kentucky Speedway.
“I can’t tell you how great it is to get this deal done in a very short amount of time,” ThorSport team manager David Pepper said. “This gives us a great driver that can win both the Truck and ARCA races over the next couple weeks.
“We’ve had our eyes on Jeb the last few years and one thing that really stands out is how well he gets along with Matt and Johnny and the respect they have for each other. To have the opportunity to get Jeb into our ThorSport family of drivers is a great move for both parties.”