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Jeb Burton lands XFINITY ride with RPM
Jeb Burton , son of former Daytona 500 winner Ward Burton , will compete full time in the NASCAR XFINITY Series this season for Richard Petty Motorsports, according to a team release. Burton , 23, will pilot the No. 43 Ford for the organization. RPM also fields a pair of entries in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series, the No. 43 with driver Aric Almirola and the No. 44 with Brian Scott . Burton competed last season in the Sprint Cup Series, making 28 starts for BK Racing . He has only two previous XFINITY Series starts along with 50 starts in the Camping World Truck Series. "When you think NASCAR, you think Richard Petty, and I'm really looking forward to continuing their winning tradition and contributing to the legacy that is Richard Petty," Burton said. Veteran Drew Blickensderfer will handle crew chief duties for the team. Blickensderfer, a former Sprint Cup crew chief, worked with former RPM drivers Marcos Ambrose and Sam Hornish Jr . He was crew chief for Matt Kenseth in 2009 at Roush Fenway Racing when that team opened the season with back-to-back wins in the Daytona 500 and Auto Club 500. A third win came in 2011 with driver David Ragan , in July at Daytona. Burton's father Ward won five times in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and finished in the top 10 in points twice. Jeff Burton , Jeb’s uncle, is also a former winner in the series and currently serves as a race analyst for NBC Sports. "We have worked with Jeb on a few opportunities over the past couple of years, and they just didn't fall into place," Brian Moffitt, Chief Executive Officer at Richard Petty Motorsports , said. "We feel Jeb is an extremely talented young driver, and I'm happy we have him in our organization. "He's proven he can win races and compete at a high level in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, and we believe he can do the same in the NASCAR XFINITY Series."
Ward Burton rides emotional tide with son Jeb
Ward Burton : 'Jeb's character is intact'
BK Racing unveils Jeb Burton throwback, driver swap
MORE: Burton discusses throwback scheme and more on "Dirty Air Podcast" When Jeb Burton decided to join the wave of throwback paint schemes for Labor Day weekend at Darlington Raceway , he didn't have far to look for inspiration. BK Racing announced Tuesday that Burton's BK Racing entry for the 66th running of the Bojangles' Southern 500 will pay tribute to the career of his father, Ward Burton , a two-time winner at NASCAR's oldest superspeedway. But the tradition-rich race will also feature another notable switch: The Ron Devine-owned team also announced Tuesday that it will make an intrateam driver swap starting at Darlington, with Burton taking over the No. 23 Toyota from J.J. Yeley, who will drive the No. 26 Toyota. RELATED: See all the throwback looks for Darlington The change in driving duties puts the younger Burton that much closer numbers-wise to the Bill Davis Racing No. 22 that his father campaigned during his heyday from 1999-2003. The yellow-and-black paint scheme for team sponsor Estes Trucking -- with its similar corporate colors to his father's longtime sponsor Caterpillar -- leans heavily on his family's racing tradition. "I saw all the throwback stuff and Estes has the same colors as Dad had, so I just thought about the idea and I got the PR team to come up with a design," Jeb Burton said. "I saw it and I thought it'd be a cool idea so we went on with it." Ward Burton caught his first glimpse of the car's vintage look ahead of last weekend's race at Bristol Motor Speedway . The resemblance -- both in colors and its similarly styled numbers -- is uncanny. "It's really cool," the 53-year-old Burton said. "We had a lot of success at Darlington, but more importantly I really appreciate Jeb thinking about me." Ward Burton flew the Caterpillar flag for his most prominent wins in NASCAR's premier series, foremost among them the 2002 Daytona 500 . The yellow-and-black look was also front and center for Burton and crew chief Tommy Baldwin Jr. when the Davis-owned team found a sweet spot at Darlington, yielding two victories at the 1.366-mile track, including the 2001 Southern 500. "Tommy and I'd hit a set-up at Darlington. For about three years there, we were on the top of the board whenever we showed up," Burton said. "Rain got us twice, a wreck got us one other time, a lug nut got us another, but we had the car to beat many times. I liked that place ever since I went there." Jeb Burton , 23, hopes the knack for the "Lady in Black" doesn't skip a generation as he prepares for his first Darlington start. His uncle, Jeff Burton , also won twice at Darlington, sweeping the season's two events there in 1999. The younger Burton got his first taste of driving the treacherous egg-shaped oval in an open test for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on June 10. "Darlington is its own animal," Burton said. "We went there and tested, and I struggled a little bit and was running the track a little wrong. Right there at the end of the session, I got behind Joey Logano and learned a lot, followed him and actually kept up with him. I thought that was really good, and our team did their best." BK Racing aims to jump-start its performance with next weekend's driver shakeup. Burton's Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidacy has been a rocky path thus far, with the No. 26 missing seven races and cracking the top 30 just twice this season. He ranks 39th in the driver standings. Yeley has run 23 of 24 in the Sprint Cup Series this season but is eligible for championship points only in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. (The team made a driver switch at Richmond with Burton in the No. 23 instead of Yeley.) The No. 23 team stands 39th in the car owner points; BK's No. 26 sits 44th after Bristol. Patrick Donahue will remain the crew chief on the No. 26 team, while Joe Williams will remain the crew chief on the No. 23 team. It's all been a learning process for Burton , who made the jump to Sprint Cup this year after two solid seasons in the Camping World Truck Series. "Coming into it, I didn't think it'd be as tough as it was because I had somewhat success," Burton said, "but in the Truck Series and the ( XFINITY ) Series, the competition level is high up front, but it's … one through 43 in the Cup Series is the best of the best. The best people, the best drivers, the best teams. You've got to be on it and our guys are working hard as a low-budget team. We're getting better every week."
Lack of sponsorship derails Jeb Burton's 2015 plans
Driver tweets that he currently does not have truck program for this season Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live It's a different season, but it's a problem that is becoming all too familiar for Jeb Burton . On Wednesday, Burton tweeted out that he didn't have a truck program for the 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series because of a lack of sponsorship. Due to a lack of sponsorship,I do not have a truck program for this year. I will continue to do everything in my power to fulfill my dream! — Jeb Burton (@JebBurtonRacing) January 28, 2015 Burton , the son of 2002 Daytona 500 champion Ward Burton , spent the 2014 season with ThorSport Racing. The 22-year-old placed eighth in the standings with two top-fives and seven top-10s. This time last year, Burton was in a similar spot when Turner Scott Motorsports, Burton's racing home for his rookie campaign of 2013, announced the sponsor of the No. 4 truck had defaulted on payments and the truck would not run full-time. About a week later, Burton and ThorSport Racing worked out a deal that initially was race-by-race but by May was announced as full-season. In his rookie season, Burton won the June race at Texas Motor Speedway and tallied seven poles, five top-fives and 11 top-10s en route to a fifth-place finish in the final standings. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Ward Burton on son's first NCWTS win
A joyful Ward Burton comments on his son picking up his first NCWTS victory at Texas.
Burton to continue with ThorSport at Martinsville
Jeb Burton still trying to piece together full-time ride after TSM fallout
Mobil 1 Driver Of The Race: Jeb Burton
Follow Jeb Burton on his journey to his first career NCWTS victory at Texas making him this week's Mobil 1 Driver Of The Race.
Race enhancements expected to improve TV experience
RELATED: Drivers react to race enhancements The NASCAR industry introduced major enhancements for its race format and points structure Monday, setting in motion a wave of new looks and incentives for 2017. But the collaboration also provided the opportunity for incentives for tuned-in fans -- more logical breaks for commercials during race telecasts. Monday's announcement made strides toward achieving that, launching the product of months of cooperation among drivers, tracks, the sanctioning body and TV broadcast partners. Based on the spirit of conversation from the group assembled on stage at the Charlotte Convention Center, the contingents from FOX and NBC Sports had much more than a nominal seat at the table. "Well, you can never guarantee anything, but I can say that sitting in the room all along the way with us were our two TV partners, and that was one of the core things we looked at," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. "We listened to the fans and we see the fans, as well, that we don't like breaking away from live action. Can we eliminate that totally? Probably not. But this format allowed us to do that. That's why we put in two breaks." The new race format, which involves splitting races into three segments, now provides a natural interlude in the action after each of the opening two stages. Both Jeff Burton (NBC Sports) and Jeff Gordon (FOX Sports) -- two racers-turned-analysts -- said that broadcasters intend to use these intermissions to potentially interview stage winners and to take commercial breaks with minimal interruptions of pit stops or other crucial moments. RELATED: FAQ about the format enhancements The details of the unveiling didn't come with an ironclad guarantee for a 100-percent smooth transition from both the TV booth and the studio, but Burton said he expected the opportunities to evolve as the enhancements take hold. "I can promise you, I'm in my second year of doing this, there's a tremendous amount of effort by the networks to bring as much racing as possible to the fans," Burton said. "The fans tune in to watch the races, and finding a way to do that is difficult sometimes. This eases that a little bit. This gives a chance for us to go to a break at the right time so the fans miss as little green-flag racing as possible. There's a tremendous amount of effort put into that." Said Gordon: "Even if it's pit stops, those are important. People want to see that. They don't want it to happen while you're gone on a break. I think while some of that may still happen because there's still going to be cautions throughout the race that aren't part of the stage ending, I think this assures that just like the teams need to have sponsors to operate, so do the TV networks, and I think as this evolves, I think the fans are really going to see an experience that they're going to … that's going to please them and say, 'Oh, wow, that's awesome, I didn't miss that.' "You know, it's going to take some coordinating. It's not going to go flawless at times, but I think that it has the potential, and I think it will be really good as we get more and more experience at that."
Drivers' outlook: 'The best racing you've ever seen'
RELATED: Fast facts on the enhancements CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- NASCAR's top drivers certainly gave the series' newest enhancements a double thumbs-up Monday night as the racing sanctioning body unveiled an exciting new brand of racing. And winning. Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski joined a Who's Who of NASCAR representatives on stage in downtown Charlotte to formally introduce and strongly endorse the format, which will award points throughout designated portions of the race in addition rewarding the final results. WATCH: New format explained in 1 minute "Every single race matters and not only that, every lap matters," defending Daytona 500 winner Hamlin said. "The old-school fans actually should love this. We're getting back to crowning your champion over 36 races and every single race matters." Added retired driver turned television broadcaster Jeff Burton : "It bridges what it used to be to what it is today." Finding an exciting, sensible and fair way to divvy up points and reward effort was the fundamental reasoning behind the change. And "listening to the fans," was a common refrain throughout the night. NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell reiterated that the sport values its fan feedback and anticipates the new points format as a way to spike interest for the fans and to give the drivers and teams new strategies toward a season championship trophy. WATCH: Junior's take on the format enhancements "It's a real subtle change once you stand back and look at it," Earnhardt said. "A lot of things we do bring fan interest only or driver interest only. And I think this kind of does both." As expected, NASCAR drivers took to social media to offer their reviews of the sport's big change and it was met with resounding encouragement. "Let's see. ... WIN. WIN. WIN. Sounds good to me," reigning seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson posted on Twitter. Stewart-Haas Racing driver Clint Bowyer tweeted, "Digging the new @NASCAR racing format. Going to be interesting to see how these stage points affect the way the teams race the entire race." RELATED: Drivers tweet about 2017 upgrades Certainly the different format -- which will give points to the top-10 finishers in the first two stages, plus points to the ultimate race winner and rest of the entire field -- means new tactics. And new opportunity. As part of the revised format, the regular-season points leader will be honored as the regular-season champion and given 15 playoff points when the standings are reset to start the 10-race playoff run. "Basically you're going to throw two cautions," Earnhardt said, simplifying the in-race changes. "You're going to know when they are, which is actually kind of comforting. "You're going to see basically the same format as far as who wins the race and how the races are decided. The playoff doesn't really change at all. You're just going to have two breaks in every race that are going to be potentially rewarding to your driver. "That, to me, creates interest. " Keselowski said confidently of the new system, "I would tell anybody, when you want to get up at Lap 30 for that bowl of chips, you're not going to want to get up. It's going to be the first segment and you're going to see some great action. "You're going to see a moment like the pass in the grass that's going to be for the end of the first segment. Those are the moments that are going to make you really want to watch and love NASCAR racing for a long, long time. "Wait until you see it on the race track," Keselowski promised, "When you see this on the race track, this is going to be the best racing you've ever seen."
Tune in: Press conference Monday, 6 p.m. ET
NASCAR fans, make sure to set your alarms: As announced over the weekend, there is a press conference today at 6 p.m. ET to discuss the 2017 season. Plenty of special guests will be on hand, so make sure to watch the live stream on NASCAR.com at this link to take stock of the big names and learn more about the coming season. Among the dignitaries scheduled on stage for the announcement: NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France, NASCAR Executive Vice President & Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell; Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski ; former drivers and current analysts on FOX and NBC, Jeff Gordon and Jeff Burton ; International Speedway Corporation President Joie Chitwood III and Speedway Motorsports Inc., Chief Executive Officer Marcus Smith; and team executives Dave Alpern ( Joe Gibbs Racing ), Marshall Carlson ( Hendrick Motorsports ), Brett Frood ( Stewart-Haas Racing ) and Steve Newmark ( Roush Fenway Racing ). The event also will be streamed on Facebook Live on the official NASCAR Facebook account. Stick around after the live stream, too, for full coverage of the event on NASCAR.com, including video segments featuring Regan Smith . &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;