Jeb Burton savors family connections

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. –If there’s an extra edge to be had at Rockingham, Jeb Burton feels his advantage may be hereditary.

His father, Ward Burton, scored the first of his five victories in NASCAR’s premier series at Rockingham. He also posted his first NASCAR Nationwide Series win here on Feb. 29, 1992, when his wife, Tabitha, was in the early stages of pregnancy with Jeb. Jeff Burton, Jeb’s uncle, also has one victory in each series at the mile oval.

The family pedigree isn’t lost on the 19-year-old Burton. “My father’s won here twice — once in Nationwide and once in the Sprint Cup Series — and my uncle’s won here a couple of times, so it’s been a good track for the Burtons.”

The first appearance at Rockingham represents a major step up for Jeb Burton, who will be making just his second start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. He finished 13th in his truck debut at .526-mile Martinsville Speedway, but had never been on a track as large as Rockingham until it opened for practice Friday.

Burton seems undaunted by the size of the historic layout, but instead has been buoyed by his truck debut and a measure of early season success in Late Model competition.

“It has bumped my ego up. I know I can run with these guys just like at Martinsville,” Burton said. “. . . I’m blessed with the opportunity to have, I just have to make the best of my opportunities and go out there and do what I know I can do. Like right now, I know I can go fast but I’m just struggling with the handling of the vehicle.”