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Burton Cousins To Be Brawling For Same Track Space

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, October 27 2017

Harrison Burton will be just one driver representing the Burton Clan this weekend at Martinsville. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Ashley R Dickerson)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Cousins Jeb and Harrison Burton are no strangers to Martinsville Speedway, having grown up at the tough NASCAR short track when their fathers competed against each other.

On Saturday, however, the two will bring the family ties full circle when they race against each other for the first time ever in the Texas Roadhouse 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races.

“I think I will race Jeb just like anyone else and I think he will race me just like anyone else,” said Harrison, this year’s NASCAR K&N East Series champion. “It’s not like I’m going to get to Jeb and punt him out of the way. That would make an awkward Thanksgiving dinner.”

To which Jeb responded, “If I didn’t get back to your bumper.”

Still, the two young men have no intention of repeating the confrontation that occurred between their fathers – Ward and Jeff Burton – following an incident years ago in a Late Model race at Martinsville.  

“My grandpa had to get in the middle of them, so, hopefully, we won’t have any drama like that,” Jeb said.

Eight years separate Jeb and Harrison in age. They have taken different career paths and their objectives for this weekend are different. Jeb, who competed in Late Model stock cars and NASCAR’s Xfinity Series this season, has one objective: To win and take home the track’s coveted Grandfather clock trophy. Harrison, who raced Super Late Models before moving into the K&N Series, admits a top-10 finish would be “satisfying.” Harrison’s best finish this year in five truck races has been 11th at Iowa Speedway.

The 25-year-old Jeb hasn’t competed in a truck race since 2015, but views Martinsville as a place where he can perform well. There is no issue with aerodynamics and ECR has helped him in the engine department. In 2013, he earned the pole for Martinsville’s first truck race that year and produced third-place finishes in both events that season.

“This is my best track,” Jeb said. “I grew up here. I know exactly what I need. I know what I need at other tracks, but here I feel like I’ve got an edge. It’s tough for some of these drivers. They just don’t get it; what it takes to get around here. It clicked for me from the Late Model days.”

For 2018, Jeb is working on a part-time schedule “with a good team”, but hopes to find a couple more sponsors so he can race full time. Harrison’s wish list for 2018 is to improve himself.

“I’d like to move up, but I’m not old enough,” said the 17-year-old Harrison. “I have a long way to go if I want to race every Sunday. I have to learn as much as I can as fast as I can. I used to be a 14-year-old kid with a long time to go before I even had to think about that stuff. I had a long time to learn. I just turned 17 and the time is coming for me to start running better and winning races more often.”

NASCAR allows a driver under age 18 to compete only on tracks 1.25 miles in length and on road courses in the truck series. A driver cannot compete in the Xfinity or Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series until he or she is 18 years old.

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, October 27 2017
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