Youngsters Harraka And Burton Ready To Hit Martinsville Speedway

[media-credit name=”” align=”alignright” width=”199″][/media-credit]MARTINSVILLE, Va. (March 28, 2011) – Making the most of their respective opportunities, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers Jeb Burton and Paulie Harraka are eager to return to racing with the Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway Saturday.

It will be Burton’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut after his father, Ward Burton, drove the State Water Heaters Chevrolet to a solid eighth-place finish at Daytona in February. Harraka finished 19th in his Wauters Motorsports Ford at Daytona International Speedway.

In order to capitalize on his opportunity with State Water Heaters, a relationship that began with his late model career, Burton will call upon his prior experience at Martinsville. Burton finished eighth place in October’s Virginia is for Racing Lovers Late Model race and believes that experience will translate to his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series appearance at the famed short-track.

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“I think it’ll be a big transition, but I think the basics are the same,” Burton said. “You have to roll through the center and get on the throttle. It’s coming off the corner, getting your truck to turn and getting a lot of bite.”

Harraka’s path to Martinsville began in go-karts at age seven moving on to Legends Cars, then the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and immediately prior to his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series the K&N Pro Series West.

“Making the jump from the K&N Pro Series to NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, I am excited to get to Martinsville,” Harraka said. “Daytona was fun, Daytona was great, but Martinsville is more of what I am use to. Although there is no short track that is necessarily like Martinsville and the trucks drive different than the K&N Pro Series cars did, it is closer. I am really excited.”

Former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series star Johnny Benson will join Harraka at the track and provide guidance throughout the weekend. Harraka spoke with six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Martinsville winner Jimmie Johnson earlier to get a sense of what the speedway has in store for the rookie.

Any sense of inexperience from either driver is lost in the desire to succeed in front of a friendly crowd. Both will have strong support in the stands Saturday, especially South Boston-native Burton. Harraka, a senior at Duke University, provided his classmates plenty of ear plugs to enjoy Saturday’s race.

“It is a good opportunity because I will have a bunch of friends and family here and I have raced here before,” Burton said “I’m glad that I am running at Martinsville, I really like the race track.”

TICKETS: Tickets for the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 weekend at Martinsville Speedway are on sale. For more information, call 877.RACE.TIX or visit

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