RADFORD, Va. – Jeb Burton made his Rev-Oil Pro Cup Series debut a memorable one, outdueling J.P. Morgan to win the Heritage Truck Centers 250 at Motor Mile Speedway Saturday night.
Burton, son of 2002 Daytona 500 winner Ward Burton, was fastest in all three practice sessions and qualified fourth for the 250-lap event. He took the lead for the first time on lap 52 when race leader Caleb Holman’s engine expired.
Wheeling the No. 33 Chevrolet, Burton held on to the lead until lap 118 when Morgan found his way around to take the lead for the first time. Morgan stayed out front through the end of the first half of the race.
Following the 10-minute halfway break Morgan restarted with the lead, but Burton quickly snatched it away on lap 128. Burton led with Morgan behind him until a caution flag on lap 148. On the restart Morgan made his move, driving around Burton on the high side.
Burton didn’t let Morgan get away, staying glued to the bumper of the No. 23 Chevrolet lap after lap. Finally, with less than 30 laps left, Burton began to pressure Morgan for the lead. With 25 laps left Burton got alongside Morgan, but couldn’t complete the pass.
That wasn’t the end of the battle. Burton took another shot at Morgan on lap 230, taking the lead for the final time. From there he simply pulled away from Morgan, who ended up settling for second.
“I was thinking about passing him (Morgan) with 100 to go,” said Burton. “I said, ‘I know what I’m going to do if I get in front of him. I’m going to burn my stuff up.’ I just rode two or three car lengths behind him and just watched him burn his stuff up.”
Morgan came up just short of his series leading seventh victory after the race-long battle with Burton.
“We actually had two totally separate race cars. He was tight and we had a loose race car,” said Morgan. “I was having to chase it up the race track a little bit and he was able to get down (underneath me). Those last 20 laps I pretty much burned the right-rear off.”
Rusty Skewes brought his No. 41 Ford home in third. Rookies Gus Dean and Dalton Hopkins completed the top five.
There were issues discovered on the No. 33 of Jeb Burton in post-race technical inspection. An official announcement regarding those issues will be made on Tuesday.