Austin Dillon isn’t the only Sprint Cup driver using the Southern 500 to pay tribute to his family’s racing history.
BK Racing’s Jeb Burton, now driving the team’s Estes sponsored No. 23 Toyota for the rest of the 2015, will dip into the more recent past to honor the career of his father, Ward Burton.
The elder Burton drove for Bill Davis Racing from late in the 1995 season to late in the 2003 season. He drove the No. 22 Caterpillar car for the team from 1999-2003. In that time he won four of his five Sprint Cup races, including the 2002 Daytona 500 and two races at Darlington Raceway, with a Southern 500 victory coming in 2001.
“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 told NASCAR.com. “I saw it and I thought it’d be a cool idea so we went on with it.”
Ward, 53, reflected on the success he had at Darlington with crew chief Tommy Baldwin Jr.
“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.”
The Sept. 6 Southern 500, which airs on NBC, will be Jeb Burton’s first start at Darlington.