After a rough rookie season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Jeb Burton will take a step down look to a familiar name to revitalize his career in 2016.
Burton will pilot RPM’s No. 43 Ford in the effort, beginning this Saturday in the XFINITY Series opener at Daytona International Speedway.
“I’m really excited to be competing full time in the XFINITY Series for Richard Petty Motorsports this season,” said Burton in a release. “When you think NASCAR, you think Richard Petty, and I’m really looking forward to continuing their winning tradition and contributing to the legacy that is Richard Petty.”
Joining Burton for the effort will be crew chief Drew Blickensderfer, a name familiar on the NASCAR circuit with two wins in the Sprint Cup Series, including a Daytona 500 victory with Matt Kenseth. Blickensderfer has been with RPM since 2013, performing crew chief duties for both Marcos Ambrose and Sam Hornish, Jr. during that time.
“We have worked with Jeb on a few opportunities over the past couple of years, and they just didn’t fall into place,” said Brian Moffitt, chief executive officer at Richard Petty Motorsports in a release. “We feel Jeb is an extremely talented young driver, and I’m happy we have him in our organization. He’s proven he can win races and compete at a high level in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, and we believe he can do the same in the NASCAR XFINITY Series.”
Burton, 23, made his NASCAR debut in the Camping World Truck Series, running five races in 2012 before joining the tour full-time in 2013. It was in that first full season that the Virginian put together his most impressive season to date, earning a victory at Texas Motor Speedway en-route to a fifth-place result in championship points.
Appearing to enter the 2014 season with momentum on his side, Burton’s plans took a twist when sponsor Arrowhead defaulted on payment shortly before the season, causing Turner Scott Motorsports to cut the young driver from its roster.
In the years since, Burton had put together full season rides with Thorsport Racing for the 2014 Truck Series season and BK Racing for the 2015 Cup Series season.
Burton will replace Dakoda Armstrong, who guided the No. 43 Ford to four top-10s and one Coors Light Pole Award in two seasons.
While no sponsors have currently been announced for the effort, a sponsorship announcement “is expected to be made prior to Friday’s first practice session”, per the team’s release.