The Victory Lap takes the important points of each week and offers analysis on how it all happened in addition to predictions on the week to come.
Jeb Burton finally landed a ride for the 2015 season. Burton signed with BK Racing to drive the No. 26 Toyota Camry in the Sprint Cup Series. Up to this point Burton hasn’t been offered much for the 2015 season in the form of a full-time ride in any of NASCAR’s top series. However, the move for Burton has come with a lot of skepticism and doubt on what the future holds for the young 22 year old.
To this point in his career, Burton has been a solid driver in the Camping World Truck Series. 2013 was his best season in which he recorded one victory, five top-fives, eleven top-tens, and seven poles. In 2014 Burton recorded a few solid finishes but didn’t have the equipment that was under him in 2013.
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Therein lies the problem. Everyone who has watched Jeb Burton race knows the young man has talent behind the wheel and can get the job done if given the right equipment. BK Racing on the other hand hasn’t been the most successful team in the Sprint Cup Series. In fact the team hasn’t won a single race and only has one top ten finish. Looking at the situation from the surface it seems Jeb Burton has nothing to gain and will only tarnish his record very early in his career. We’ve seen this happen to many other drivers (Casey Atwood, Scott Riggs, etc.) who have taken a ride and weren’t able to meet expectations at the top level.
However, in Burton’s situation this choice was a no brainer. Either race full-time or sit at home and wait for a call to take over a top ride. A call that may never come leading to the death of his professional racing career. His entrance to the Sprint Cup Series also comes with some different expectations. For example Ryan Blaney, who is running a part time schedule with the Wood Brothers, will be expected to finish in the top 15 on a regular basis and nab a few top fives throughout the season.
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Everyone in the garage knows the Wood Brothers have better equipment then BK Racing. They also know Burton, just like Blaney, isn’t the most experienced driver in the garage. The true measuring stick is not how many wins and top fives Burton can get but how much he improves from the time they unload in Daytona to the time the checkered flag flies in Homestead.
Finishing consistently in the top 20 would be a win for both Jeb Burton and BK Racing. Enough of a win for top tier teams to start taking note and possibly open the door to a better ride in the future. Is this risky? Absolutely. Can Jeb Burton take the BK Racing equipment and turn in consistent top 20 finishes? Only time will tell.
Another important announcement made last week is that Speed51.com will team up with FansChoice.tv and NASCARHomeTracks.com to cover all the action from the 49th Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway. Coverage will start on February 13th and run through February 21st. On nights where there is NASCAR racing action in Daytona the broadcast will be delayed until after the conclusion of the racing in Daytona. The only exception is the February 15th K&N Pro Series East race. This race won’t be covered live but will be broadcast on NBCSN February 19th at 10:30 PM EST.
Speed51.com covered the Snowball Derby in 2014 and Speedfest from Watermelon Capital Speedway earlier this year. The announce team will be led by veteran broadcaster Bob Dillner. Here is the full release from NASCAR:
It’s great to see extra coverage of short track racing being supported by NASCAR. After all, that’s where it all started. I can’t think of a better way to lead into the Daytona 500 than nine days of on-track action from New Smyrna.