By Toby Christie, NASCAR Editor
Jeb Burton has had a rough start to the 2016 NASCAR Xfinity Series campaign, but heading into Friday night’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway, the driver of the No. 43 Ford Mustang sat 12th in the championship standings.
Burton started the race from the 12th position, and felt great about his car heading into the race. Once the race started it was clear that he was more of a 15th-20th place car.
Those Chase berth hopes took a hit on lap 144, when a tire cut down sending him into the wall.
As Burton slowed in the high lane, he was slammed into by Blake Koch, who had absolutely nowhere to go. Both cars suffered huge damage, Koch returned to the track for one more lap, but parked it after passing the No. 43 car.
“A tire went down. We were struggling really bad anyway. We were gonna have a decent night, I guess, with another 15th-place finish probably, so we’ve got to get better. It’s really frustrating,” Burton said. “Like I said, we were already struggling and with the way our night was going that just topped it off.”
Burton finished 35th, and as a result he now slips to 13th in the point standings. It was a sad end to a day that started with such promise. Burton finished 10th earlier in the season at a similar track in Atlanta. Burton also won at Texas Motor Speedway in the Truck Series back in 2013, and it’s been one of his best tracks since he hit the NASCAR National Series level.
Burton and his Richard Petty Motorsports team will now look to bounce back at Bristol next weekend. Burton has his head held high because of improved performance from his team.
“Our speed has been a little better,” Burton explained. “We’ve made the top 12 [in qualifying] the last two weeks, so that’s good.”
In two Truck Series starts at the half-mile race track in Tennessee, Burton has an average finish of 11.5. He will look to improve on that record in the Xfinity Series.
Image: NASCAR Media Group