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Ward Burton Returning To NASCAR

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Thursday, January 26 2012

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The new Hillman Racing team announced Thursday that 2002 Daytona 500 Champion Ward Burton will make his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut behind the wheel of the No. 27 Hillman Racing Chevrolet in next month’s season-opening NextEra 250 at Daytona International Speedway.

Hillman Racing is making its NASCAR debut this season. Team owner Mike Hillman Sr. played a big role in the founding of Germain Racing and was the architect of the group’s two NASCAR championships in 2006 and 2010. Hillman acquired the championship-winning NASCAR Camping World Truck Series assets following the conclusion of the 2011 season and is set to embark as the owner and general manager of Hillman Racing for the 2012 season.

“First off, I have to thank Bob Germain for his friendship over the years; it’s because of that we were able to acquire the truck teams,” said Hillman. “I put my heart and soul into that organization and I wanted to continue the tradition of winning that we established there with the two Camping World Truck Series championships.

“I’m also appreciative of State Water Heaters for coming onboard as we continue to talk with additional marketing partners to grow this operation. Having a driver of Ward’s caliber entrusting me with the development of his son’s Jeb NASCAR career is a compliment to what I’ve been a part of in the Truck Series and the sport. I’m also looking forward to adding Ward to the list of drivers to win at least one race in each of the NASCAR National Series when we go to Daytona next month.”

In 375 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts, Burton has posted fives wins, seven poles and 24 top-five and 82 top-10 finishes. Burton also has four NASCAR Nationwide Series victories, seven poles, 23 top-five and 50 top-10 finishes in 161 starts.

“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,” said Burton. “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. Jeb and I have our long-time supporter State Water Heaters on board with us and we are thrilled that they are going to be a part of our 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season and helping to kick off Jeb’s NASCAR debut.”

In addition to Burton, a driver development program is being established for Jeb Burton, the 19-year-old son of Ward. Since making his last NASCAR start, Burton has been using that time to focus on helping his son Jeb develop his racing career and his conservation efforts with The Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation.

Being the son of NASCAR’s 2002 Daytona 500 winner, it would be natural to think that Jeb Burton would have the hope of someday becoming a professional race car driver like his dad. Jeb has been racing since he was a kid, starting in go-karts and racing his way through the ranks in ASA and the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, and now at 19, he is ready to step into one of NASCAR’s top tier racing series with Hillman Racing in No. 27 Chevrolet Silverado, sporting the same number that he has been racing in his Late Model division.

“I’m excited to race in the truck series,” said Burton. “This is a big step from the NASCAR Whelen Series but I am ready for it. I am comfortable with my crew chief Trip Bruce and the team of guys here at Hillman Racing. There are a lot of resources here with this race team and I am real appreciative for State Water Heaters and Mike Hillman Sr. for giving me this chance.”

“State Water Heaters and Ward Burton have been partners since 2007,” stated Jeff Storie, Senior Marketing Manager for State Water Heaters. “We realized early on that Ward has a natural connection with our wholesalers and contractors. Because of that connection, Ward is a great ambassador for the State brand. We’re thrilled that our 2012 partnership is moving back on the track with both Ward & Jeb. We look forward to seeing what Ward, Jeb and the whole Hillman Racing team can do together and we’re glad to be a part of it. Mike Hillman’s results in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series speak for themselves. We’re excited to see what the combo of Hillman Racing, the Burtons & State can produce.”

Complete details of the driver lineup for the remainder of the season will be announced at a later date.

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Thursday, January 26 2012
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