Xfinity Series: Talladega win tailor-made for Jeb Burton, Kaulig Racing

Jeb Burton won his first-career Xfinity Series race Saturday when heavy rain forced NASCAR to call the race.

A rain-out isn’t the way most NASCAR drivers plan on winning their first Xfinity Series race, but Jeb Burton’s career hadn’t exactly gone as planned up to this point. In many ways, the ending of the Ag-Pro 300 ended was perfect for Burton and Kaulig Racing.

Burton took the lead from his cousin Harrison Burton just four laps before a seven-car incident brought out a caution on lap 86. NASCAR brought the cars to pit road on lap 90 and ended the race. Burton, however, didn’t know the race was over until teammate A.J. Allmendinger poked his head through Burton’s window to give him the news. That was a special moment for two drivers whose NASCAR careers were floundering a year ago.

Opportunities have eluded the second-generation driver since leaving Thorsport in 2014. Burton spent the latter half of the 2010’s struggling to find a full-time ride in either national touring series. His fortune’s finally changed when Matt Kaulig, owner of the fast-growing Kaulig Racing team offered Burton a full-time spot in the No. 10 car.

Kaulig Racing has a burgeoning reputation for being a tight-knit organization. When Allmendinger won at Las Vegas earlier this year, he said he wanted to win for Matt Kaulig the same way he would want to win for Roger Penske.

The belief Kaulig has in his drivers isn’t lost on either of them. Allmendinger, a Cup Series driver with little success away from road courses; Justin Haley, a younger driver denied the opportunities of others his age; and Jeb Burton, one of the series’ older drivers who has never received a real shot at Xfinity Series stardom.

The three radically different drivers have formed a bond thanks to Kaulig. They want to win, not just for themselves, but for each other, Matt Kaulig and the entire Kaulig organization. That’s why it was fitting for Allmendinger to break the news to Burton instead of some NASCAR official, it had to have meant so much for Burton.

Another Xfinity Series win for the Burton family

Jeb Burton’s victory was the 36th win by a Burton in the Xfinity Series and the 64th win at the national level in NASCAR. His only national win before Saturday was a Truck Series victory at Texas in 2013.

Jeb’s father Ward Burton won four Xfinity Series races, three of which came in 1993. Ward padded his career stats with five Cup Series victories, including a win in the 2002 Daytona 500.

His uncle Jeff Burton accounts for over half of the family’s wins. Jeff won 27 Xfinity Series races and 21 Cup Series races. Plus, he finished in the top five in points in the Cup Series four times. Jeff’s son Harrison had an impressive rookie season in 2020, winning four races and claiming the Xfinity Series Rookie of the Year title.

Noah Gragson wins $100,000

Elsewhere in the Xfinity Series field, Noah Gragson won another $100,000 in the Dash 4 Cash program. Gragson ended the race in sixth, six spots ahead of the next-best Dash 4 Cash driver Daniel Hemric.

The Dash 4 Cash continues in two weeks at Darlington Raceway. Gragson competes for another $100,000 against Burton, Allmendinger and Austin Cindric.

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