Jeb Burton hopes to add to family tradition at Martinsville


Hailing from South Boston, Virginia, the Burton racing family made its name on its hometown track at South Boston Speedway. But another short track, over an hour or so to the west, has seen them excel over the years.

Three of the Burtons have claimed a NASCAR national series win at Martinsville Speedway, which hosts the Xfinity and Cup Series this weekend.

Jeff Burton earned both Martinsville Cup (1997) and Xfinity (1990) wins in his career. Ward Burton (1993) and Harrison Burton (2020) also have their own Martinsville Xfinity victories.

Another Burton has come close to joining them at times.

Jeb Burton – Jeff’s nephew, Ward’s son, Harrison’s cousin – has a pole and two top fives in Camping World Truck Series competition at Martinsville. Last November, he finished fourth in his first Xfinity start there for JR Motorsports.

In a Wednesday media teleconference, Jeb mentioned the Truck pole from April 2013 as “probably (his) fondest moment” at the track. He went on to lead 154 laps in that race, but finished third after losing the lead on the final restart.

He returns to Martinsville for Friday night’s 250-lap race with perhaps his best chance to break through for his first career win and become the fourth Burton to win at Martinsville.

Four family members have never won at the same track across NASCAR’s top three divisions.

“I think that’d be really special if we could get that done,” said Jeb Burton, a full-time Xfinity driver for Kaulig Racing. “Four different family members to do that – I don’t think anybody would ever do that again. Hopefully, we can make that happen.”

Performance gains

Entering Friday’s race, Jeb Burton is sixth in the standings with three top-five and five top-10 finishes. He’s tied for the most top 10s with reigning series champion Austin Cindric and Daniel Hemric.

His only blemish came in the most recent race on March 20 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. On a restart with less than 50 laps to go, he and Jeremy Clements came together in Turn 1 and then went into the outside wall.

The incident ruined potential top-five days for both drivers. Clements finished 12th, while Jeb Burton finished 25th. But the latter was still heartened by the speed from his No. 10 Chevrolet.

“We were about two-tenths off the best car there in the last stage, and that’s the best speed we’ve shown all year,” he said. “I think we were about to show even more speed going into that third stage before we got crashed.

“I thought the week before that at Phoenix was our best race. We ran top six all day (finished sixth) and then Atlanta, I felt like we were a legitimate top-four car.

“The finishes have been there, but I think our speed maybe hasn’t quite been there. I think some of that’s me just getting familiar with these race cars – and I haven’t been to these race tracks in a while.”

Prior to Las Vegas, Jeb Burton said he was having to focus on that familiarization during the first two stages of races before trying to claw back lost ground in the final stage.

It’s a process that his Kaulig Racing teammate, AJ Allmendinger, knows as well. He returned to full-time status this season after running part-time for the organization in 2019 and ’20.

But Allmendinger, who won earlier this year at Las Vegas, has been impressed with Jeb Burton’s ability to get solid results, especially with that process not including practice sessions on most race weekends.

“He shows he has the speed,” Allmendinger said this week. “As the year goes on, he’s only going to get better. He’s not gonna have to take those first two stages as practices, so he’ll be up front more consistently. More importantly, because of that, he’ll keep giving better feedback.”

Nifty fifty

Friday night also marks a milestone for Jeb Burton: His 50th Xfinity start.

That number may not jump off the page. But considering the circuitous path of his career, it’s an important one.

His full-time ride with Richard Petty Motorsports in 2016 disappeared after just 11 races. From there, he ran partial schedules for now-defunct organizations Biagi-Denbeste Racing (2016) and JGL Racing (2017), then Richard Childress Racing (2018) and JR Motorsports (2019-20), before landing a full-time ride with Kaulig.

When he and Kaulig made their announcement last November, Jeb Burton spoke about how in those days, every race felt like “a life-or-death moment” for his career.

He can now move forward in his career with confidence. But as he approaches No. 50, he is grateful for what he learned while living race-to-race.

“Time flies by,” he said. “It doesn’t seem like I ran 50 races, to be honest. It’s definitely been a lot of hard work to get this opportunity. I’m just excited about where I’m going as a driver and where our team’s going.

“All those hardships I’ve been through has made me into the person I am today and has taught me a lot.”

NASCAR Power Rankings: William Byron, Kyle Busch rank 1-2


Kyle Busch moved closer to the top spot after his win Sunday at WWT Raceway, but William Byron keeps hold of No. 1 after another top-10 run.

The series heads to Sonoma Raceway this weekend, the second race of the season on a road course.


(Previous ranking in parenthesis)

1. William Byron (1) — He goes into Sonoma with six consecutive top-10 finishes after his eighth-place result at WWT Raceway. Byron has led a series-high 717 laps this season.

2. Kyle Busch (4) — Recorded his third win of the season Sunday. He is tied with Byron for most wins this year. Busch scored 59 of a maximum 60 points and won his first stage of the year Sunday. He has 16 playoff points. Only Byron has more with 17 this season.

3. Kyle Larson (3) — His fourth-place finish continued his up-and-down season. In the last nine races, Larson has two wins, four top fives, a 20th-place result and four finishes of 30th or worse. He has led 588 laps this season, which ranks second this year to Byron.

4. Martin Truex Jr. (2) — His fifth-place finish is his sixth top 10 in the last eight races. He ranks third in laps led this year with 383.

5. Denny Hamlin (7) — Runner-up result at WWT Raceway is his fourth top 10 in the last seven races.

6. Ryan Blaney (10) — Followed Coca-Cola 600 win with a sixth-place run at WWT Raceway. He had an average running position of 2.6 on Sunday, second only to winner Kyle Busch’s average running position of 1.9.

7. Joey Logano (9) — Third-place finish is his second top 10 in the last four races.

8. Kevin Harvick (NR) — His 10th-place finish is his fourth consecutive finish of 11th or better.

9. Ross Chastain (6) — Lost the points lead after placing 22nd, his third consecutive finish outside the top 20.

10. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (NR) — Headed for his eighth top 15 in a row until he was collected in a crash after the contact between Austin Cindric and Austin Dillon late in Sunday’s race.

Dropped out: Chase Elliott (5th), Tyler Reddick (8th)

NASCAR will not penalize Austin Cindric for incident with Austin Dillon


Despite Richard Childress and Austin Dillon saying that Austin Cindric intentionally wrecked Dillon late in Sunday’s Cup race at WWT Raceway, NASCAR will not penalize Cindric.

Elton Sawyer, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, said Tuesday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that there would be no penalty to Cindric after reviewing the contact.

Dillon and Childress were upset about the incident, which brought out the caution on Lap 220 of the 243-lap race. Dillon said NASCAR should suspend Cindric for the contact, just as NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one race for hooking Denny Hamlin in the Coca-Cola 600.

Contact between the left front of Cindric’s car and the right rear of Dillon’s car sent Dillon up the track into Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Dillon finished 31st. Cindric continued and placed 13th.

Dillon told “I was wrecked intentionally by (Cindric), hooked right just like Chase and Denny and Bubba’s deal (in wrecking Kyle Larson at Las Vegas in 2022). He better be suspended next week.”

Childress said: “(Dillon) had drove up to about 10th until (Cindric) wrecked him in there on purpose, sort of a payback.”

Sawyer said a review of the incident included viewing video and data.

“We didn’t see anything — and haven’t seen anything — that really would rise to a level that would be a suspension or a penalty,” Sawyer said. “It looked like hard racing. One car coming up a little bit and another car going down.

“As we said last week, we take these incidents very serious when we see cars that are turned head-on into another car or head-on into the wall. I spent a lot of time (Monday) looking at that, looking at all the data, looking at TV footage and just deemed this one really hard racing.”

Sawyer said NASCAR plans to talk to both Cindric and Dillon “to make sure we’re all in a good place as we move forward to Sonoma.”



Seven Cup drivers entered in Xfinity race at Sonoma


Kyle Larson is among seven Cup drivers entered in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Sonoma Raceway.

The race marks the first time the Xfinity Series has competed at the California road course. Teams will get 50 minutes of practice Friday because this is a new event on the schedule. That additional time will give those Cup drivers more laps on the 1.99-mile road course.

MORE: Sonoma Xfinity entry list

Here is a look at what Xfinity rides the Cup drivers will pilot this weekend:

The race is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. ET Saturday.

The ARCA Menards Series West also is competing this weekend at Sonoma Raceway. Cup driver Ryan Preece is entered in that event. Xfinity drivers Cole Custer, Riley Herbst, Sammy Smith and Parker Retzlaff also are entered in that race, which will be held at 6:30 p.m. ET Friday.


Winners and losers at WWT Raceway


Winners and losers from Sunday’s Cup race at WWT Raceway:


Kyle BuschWins the pole, leads the most laps and holds the field off over the last five restarts to win the race. He scored six playoff points, giving him 16 on the season, second only to William Byron’s 17. Busch left Joe Gibbs Racing after last season for Richard Childress Racing. Busch’s three wins this year equals what JGR has done so far.

Ryan BlaneyHis sixth-place finish moved him into the points lead. He last led the points after the spring 2022 Richmond race. Blaney also won a stage Sunday to collect another playoff point. He has seven this season.

Kyle LarsonFourth-place finish was a big turnaround after struggles earlier in the race. It has not been easy for this team the last few weeks. He has three top-five finishes and four finishes of 20th or worse in the last seven races.

Daniel SuarezHis seventh-place finish moved him up two spots to 16th in the standings, the final playoff transfer spot at this time.


Ross ChastainHe finished 22nd for his third consecutive result outside the top 20. He entered the weekend leading the points and fell to fifth afterward. He is 29 points behind new series leader Ryan Blaney with 11 races left in the regular season.

Tyler ReddickRebounded from an early spin to lead but had his race end after a brake rotor failed. He was one of four drivers eliminated by brake rotor failures. The others were Carson Hocevar, Bubba Wallace and Noah Gragson.