Estes Express Lines today announced that it will serve as primary sponsor for Sandusky-based ThorSport Racing’s No. 13 Toyota Tundra driven by Burton for the remainder of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season, beginning with Friday’s Lucas Oil 200 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.
Estes’ president and CEO Rob Estes was the keynote speaker at an unveiling ceremony for the No. 13 Estes Toyota at the transportation company’s Richmond, Va., headquarters.
“To have Jeb driving the No. 13 Estes Toyota is a powerful combination and a perfect match for our company” Estes said. “First, it’s safe to say that trucks — all trucks — are our passion. Second, it takes the effort of a large team of highly-skilled people at ThorSport Racing to make sure the No. 13 Tundra is prepared to race and to win, just like at Estes, where every member of our team is essential to the performance of the company as a whole.
“And finally, Jeb’s job is to cross the finish line first each race and to do so safely, without injury or damage. At Estes, our job is to finish that same way with our customers, with every shipment, whether it’s door-to-door or coast-to-coast, 40,000 times each day”
Burton, 21, is a second-generation driver whose father, Ward Burton, won the 2002 Daytona 500 and whose uncle, Jeff Burton is a 21-race winner in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. With shared roots in the small towns of rural southern Virginia, the Estes and Burton families are distant relatives.
“It’s an honor to be driving the No. 13 Estes Toyota,” Burton said. “Each time I get behind the wheel, I’m not only representing the Burton family and ThorSport Racing, now I have the privilege of representing everyone at Estes, which means a team of almost 15,000 employees including more than 6,000 truck drivers”
Currently eighth in the point standings after four races this season, Burton entered the year with uncertainty surrounding him. He was scheduled to race the full Truck Series schedule this season for Turner Scott Motorsports, who he finished fifth for in 2013. But his ride fell apart in late January when his sponsor — Arrowhead Cigarettes — defaulted on a payment. That allowed ThorSport to aggressively pursue Burton for the open No. 13 truck.
After the initial few races of the season, the rest of 2014 was to be determined by the ability to land a full-time sponsor for Burton, which came together on Tuesday with Estes.
ThorSport Racing is in its 19th consecutive season of fielding teams in the Truck Series. Its fleet includes the No. 88 Menards Toyota driven by defending NCWTS drivers’ champion Matt Crafton and the No. 98 Nextant Aerospace/Curb Records Toyota driven by Johnny Sauter.
Crafton again sits atop the standings in his quest to become the only repeat winner in Truck Series history, while Sauter is fourth.
The relationship between Estes and ThorSport Racing came as the result of a business growth opportunity shared among the freight provider and ThorWorks Industries, a conglomerate of diverse businesses including ThorSport Racing based in Sandusky and owned by Duke and Rhonda Thorson.
“Everyone at ThorSport Racing has a lot of faith in Jeb as an up-and-coming driver and we’re happy to have found a company with Estes’ professional legacy and values to sponsor our program,” Duke Thorson said. “We’d like to thank everyone at Estes for their support and confidence as this relationship moves forward.
“We’re proud to be the team Estes chose for its NASCAR debut” he added. “We can’t wait to see Jeb and the No. 13 Estes Tundra on the track at Dover this weekend and throughout a safe and successful 2014 season”