Burton ready for Kansas under the lights

Jeb Burton's still at the phase in his career where every lap's a lesson learned, and that's exactly why he knows his No. 13 Carolina Nut Co. Toyota Tundra can end up in Victory Lane at Kansas Speedway Friday night after the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series' SFP 250.

Last year at Kansas, in his ninth career Truck Series race, Burton qualified third and led 26 laps before he succumbed to a flaw that is all-too-common for young drivers.

"I haven't had a real good history at Kansas," Burton said in his low-key fashion -- despite having only two starts on the fast, 1.5-mile speedway. "There were only about 10 laps to go last year and I believe I had a shot at a top-five and I just got a little impatient and spun out."

For a young man who wants to do nothing but run up front, his 15th-place finish was a brutal reality. That might've been worse than his first Kansas race, in 2012 when he crashed on his third lap in the race.

But that was then, and with the improvement he's shown in only two starts, this time around at Kansas Burton -- who's aligned with ThorSport Racing, for whom he'll make his third start while sitting tied for ninth in the championship -- hopes for much better results.

Accentuating his optimism is a successful test session a couple weeks ago at Charlotte Motor Speedway -- where the trucks race in two weekends. The racetracks are nowhere near identical, but they're both fast, 1.5-milers and most of the testing there was at night.

Friday's race at Kansas is the 14th Truck Series race there but the first at night. Burton -- who was the 2013 NCWTS Keystone Light Pole Award winner with seven top starting spots -- can only smile when he anticipates Friday night.

"It's going to be fast," Burton said, harkening back to the test as proof. "That (Charlotte test) was my first time with my new team on a mile-and-a-half track, where you really have to have the confidence that your truck is going to be under you when you turn off into the corner.

"Now, I've got that confidence because we were really good at the test, I've gotten so much more comfortable with my new team and I can tell you we'll be a lot better than we were at Martinsville (previous race, in March)."

And in the end, Burton agreed he could put his lessons learned -- not only at Kansas a year ago -- but everywhere else he raced on his way to fifth in the 2013 Truck championship, to good use this weekend.

"Track positions is going to be big -- but it always is," Burton said. "And you're going to have to be aggressive and get everything you can on every restart.

"We've got the company colors, Carolina Nut Co., on our Tundra this weekend but we're still looking for all the sponsorship help we can find to help us keep this ThorSport Toyota up front in the championship where it should be."

After opening inspection on Thursday morning the 32 entered trucks will have two practice sessions that afternoon, from 2:30-3:30 p.m. ET and from 4-5:30. Neither has TV coverage scheduled on FOX Sports 1.

Thursday night Burton, along with ThorSport teammate, 2013 Kansas winner and defending NCWTS drivers' champion Matt Crafton, is scheduled to appear at a public driver autograph session at the "Legends of Speed" fan festival at the Legends Outlets across from Kansas Speedway on Sunflower Drive, from 7-7:30 p.m. CT.

The Truck Series' inaugural -- since qualifying sessions at both Daytona and Martinsville were rained-out -- multi-segment, elimination-style group Keystone Light Pole Qualifying session to set the up-to 36-truck starting lineup is Friday at 4:40 p.m. ET, with live coverage on FOX Sports 1 beginning at 4:30.
Thorsport PR
Speedway Digest Staff

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