DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 14, 2014) — After two days ranging from “boredom” to post-qualifying “bedlam” at Daytona International Speedway Jeb Burton will make his ThorSport Racing debut in the No. 13 Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff Toyota Camry from 21st starting position in Saturday’s Lucas Oil 200 presented by MAVTV American Real.
In a four-hour practice on Thursday afternoon, Burton — whose only previous ARCA start came on the half-mile short track in Marne, Mich. — turned 48 laps, the most any of the 42 cars that practiced, ran.
“I believe that was some of the most boring driving I’ve ever done,” Burton said after making a 14-lap race run in which he drafted with up to seven other cars. “My Smokey Mountain Camry was rock-solid stable and I know the history of this car, and this crew, so we’re ready to race.”
In 2013 the Camry Burton’s driving qualified only 19th at Daytona but kicked off a championship season with a fourth-place finish. At Talladega, ARCA’s other superspeedway race, the car sat 11th on the starting grid but won the rain-shortened event.
“Everything is new to me, from (crew chief) Jeriod (Prince) to all the guys,” Burton said of his team’s 31-race consecutive top-10 finishing streak, which goes back to July 2012 at the New Jersey Motorsports Park road course. “But knowing what Jeriod and his crew have accomplished gives me a lot of confidence for (Saturday’s) race.”
Burton’s best lap in the draft Thursday was 18th on the time sheet, in 49.604 seconds around the 2.5-mile high-banked trioval, an average speed of 181.437 mph. In qualifying Friday Burton turned the 24th-best lap, in 50.462 seconds, 178.352 mph.
But that was before five drivers — including polesitter Bobby Gerhart and second-place Spencer Gallagher — had their times disallowed for technical infractions found in post-qualifying inspection. Gallagher was disqualified and dropped from the starting lineup and Burton moved up three spots, to the inside of the 11th row.
“What history has taught everyone about this place is it doesn’t matter where you start,” said Burton, whose father Ward Burton won the 2002 Daytona 500 and who made his only career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start in this event in 2012. “Jeriod did a pretty good job with strategy on these speedway races last year so I’m looking forward to getting out there, taking care of my ThorSport Camry for 100 laps and then going for it, when it matters.”
Burton has only two superspeedway races on his Truck Series resume, but he finished fifth last year in the race won by his ThorSport teammate Johnny Sauter in the No. 98 Carolina Nut Co./Curb Records Tundra.
Saturday’s 80-lap, 200-mile Lucas Oil 200 will be telecast live on FOX Sports 1 at 4 p.m. ET. The live broadcast on local station WNDB 1150 AM will be simulcast at www.arcaracing.com, where live timing & scoring for the event can also be found.