The pendulum swings for NASCAR and the Burton family

Have you ever had the feeling of the pendulum swinging too far right or left?  And then as the pendulum hits its limit on either side, and begins the swing back in the opposite direction, there’s that brief moment in the center when all is right with the world.

That’s the feeling that appears to be permeating within the NASCAR world this year. There are a lot of unknowns with the upcoming season as the pendulum makes its way to the other side. Fans have certainly witnessed many changes occurring within NASCAR, and perhaps some of these changes are adjusting the sport with it’s past.

The Media Tour this week has presented many exciting news events, including the introduction of the 2013 Ford Fusion looking more like the street car version and returning the true sense of the term “stock car” to racing is just one example. Actually, when you think about it, the idea of NASCAR encouraging the manufacturers to bring back the concept of “stock car” is a good example of blending the past with the future and of the pendulum swinging ever so gently within the sport of NASCAR racing. 

For some fans, that “all is right with the world” feeling was realized upon hearing the news of Ward Burton’sreturn to the track in the Camping World Truck series at Daytona. It will indeed be heart-warming to see him again in the sunshine state as a former Daytona 500 winner, but also as Richard Childress Racing driver Jeff Burton’s brother and 19-year-old Jeb Burton’s dad. Coincidentally, this announcement comes 31 – Jeff’s car number – days prior to the 500, which Ward won ten years ago, also driving a car sponsored by Caterpillar. 

Again, you get the sense of the past meeting up with the future because along with the announcement of Ward racing in Daytona, is the news of his son Jeb Burton debuting his NASCAR career in the Camping World Truck series later in the season. Ironically, Ward will be racing in the “NextEra” Energy 250 truck series event at Daytona. 

A very happy Ward Burton
(photo from Richmond Times Dispatch )
“I am real excited about the things we have going on with Mike Hillman Sr. and his program.  I think this is a real good thing for Jeb and his career,” Burton said in a statement. “Hillman Sr. is building a great team of people and we are hoping that we can bring some additional marketing partners on board with us to make this program a huge success.”

On the pit box for the #27 will be Richmond native Trip Bruce, who worked with Ward at Bill Davis Racing in the Sprint Cup series. For the season, Ward and Jeb will share the ride at Hillman Racingwith Ward making some starts throughout the truck series schedule. Jeb Burton will find himself behind the wheel in his first Camping World Truck series race, the Kroger 250 at Martinsville on March 31st. 

Jeb Burton after his August 2011 Win
(photo from Short Track Action)
“I’m excited to race in the truck series,” Jeb Burton said in a statement. “This is a big step from the NASCAR Whelen series but I’m ready for it. I am comfortable with my crew chief Trip Bruce and team of guys here at Hillman Racing.”

The NextEra Energy 250 is February 24th at Daytona. As the NASCAR pendulum continues its transition, so will the transition continue for the Burton family.  

There is no family relationship between the author and the Burtons’ referenced in this blog. 
Thanks for reading.

2 thoughts on “The pendulum swings for NASCAR and the Burton family

  1. This is so nice to see Ward back in NASCAR as well as his son Jeb coming up through the ranks. My favorite NASCAR moment of all time is when Ward won the Daytona 500 in '02.

  2. Great piece Sharon! It's nice to see more generations of families joining in on the sport. I wonder if Mark's son or Matt's son will try to get into NASCAR. Good luck Jeb!

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