Race Weekend Central

Jeb Burton, Jordan Anderson Reflect on 2023 Talladega Win & Recent Success

TALLADEGA, Ala. — With a 66-race winless streak hanging in the balance, Jeb Burton climbed the NASCAR Xfinity Series mountaintop for the second time in his career on April 22, 2023, as he held off Sheldon Creed at Talladega Superspeedway to return to victory lane for the first time since winning a rain-shortened Talladega race with Kaulig Racing in 2021.

The win locked Burton into the 2023 Xfinity playoffs (where he finished 12th in points), and it was the first-ever win for Jordan Anderson Racing (JAR), which Burton joined at the start of 2023.

Back at Talladega one year later with three cars — the full-time entries of Burton and Parker Retzlaff plus team owner Jordan Anderson in a third entry — JAR is looking to repeat its performance and score back-to-back wins at NASCAR’s longest and fastest oval.

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“Yeah, it’s no doubt [Talladega’s] a special place for us,” Anderson said. “Jeb’s win here last year was definitely a highlight for our team, and it’s such a big opportunity for us to get on that stage and to compete for a win and then bring one home, is and was a big highlight for us. The first one’s always most special.

“So to come back here, we’ve got three fast cars. We’ve shown that the [super]speedway stuff is a package that we’ve kind of figured out, and we know this is an opportunity race. So we try to make the most of it.”

“I’m not sure what it is about Talladega, but it’s always suited me well,” Burton said. “I led the white-flag lap in the No. 8 [JR Motorsports] car here [in 2020], so I almost had three trophies. But last year was really special. I didn’t have a very good year in 2022, and to come here with a new team was really cool. To get the organization its first win and then [get] a shot in the arm for me and all my partners as well.

“And we’ve had a tough year so far this year. We’ve had a lot of speed; we’ve had more speed than we had last year, and just a lot of bad circumstances have happened. Just want to reset and put together a solid day tomorrow. And like Jordan said, we emphasize on this race and Daytona’s that we can have a shot to win, but really just want to go out there and do our thing and try to be there at the end.”

With Anderson wheeling the team’s part-time No. 32 car, Saturday’s (April 20) Ag-Pro 300 will also mark his first start at Talladega in any series after a frightening crash in the 2022 Craftsman Truck Series event left him with second-degree burns after a fire broke out in his No. 3 truck.

“To come back here a year and a half later — this would be my first time racing here since then — it’ll be cool to check that box to get back out there again and kind of get back on the bike after falling off of it,” Anderson said. “So to be able to get back out here and run since then is going to be special.”

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The team’s excellence on superspeedways extends well beyond Talladega, as JAR scored a double top five with Retzlaff in third — his career best Xfinity finish — and Anderson in fourth in the 2024 season opener at Daytona International Speedway. Anderson was leading late in the race, but he was passed by eventual winner Austin Hill with 3 laps to go.

“[Daytona] was a big one, all three cars ran up front all night and had really good speed,” Anderson said. “And to be there at the end again — I think if I was doing this a little bit more — when I got out front there were a few laps to go, I probably wouldn’t have given it away the way I did and got too far out front. It’s tough to hop in these things and then not race every week because the field is stout. I mean, there’s a lot of guys that have a shot at winning these things and to not be able to be out there every week, you got to come in and really pick up the pace.

“… But Daytona was big for us earlier this year and, again, all those moments are special for us because we’re very much a challenger team in this garage area. We’re new, we’re figuring things out as we go, so anytime we can have a day like that, it’s for sure a highlight for us.”

Anderson made his return to racing last August in the Xfinity race at Daytona, where he scored a 15th-place finish. Anderson used Burton’s No. 27, and that allowed Burton to run the No. 22 with a special throwback paint scheme that resembled his father Ward Burton‘s ride with Bill Davis Racing in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Burton came home 12th in the special night.

“That was really special, that was really neat,” Burton said. “Probably never have that opportunity again to run the number, Penske allowed me to do it. So I appreciate [Tim] Cindric over there allowing that to happen. But yeah, that was a really special day to honor dad and his team that did so much with little.

“I feel like he was in a similar situation. Like Jordan said, we don’t have all the resources that some of the big teams have, but we outrun a lot of big teams every single week. So proud of what my No. 27 group has been able to do this year. We don’t have the results to really show that, but our speed is getting better every single week, and we’re learning together. Excited about the future and just ready to get in the race car and try to put together a storybook day tomorrow.”

Anderson will make his third of five scheduled starts this on Saturday, as he raced at Daytona and Atlanta Motor Speedway in February and will also drive the No. 32 car at Daytona in August and Talladega in October. Other drivers (Sage Karam, Ryan Vargas and Austin Green) have taken turns in the car this season, and Anderson said that any additional races — whether it be for another driver or himself — would be decided on a race-by-race basis.

“It’s just kind of a race-by-race basis,” Anderson said. “We did this to come to all four speedway races just because there’s that new rule coming out next year where the speedway cars will be a little bit different. We’ve got a lot of them in our inventory, so I might as well use them up and go run.

“Don’t ever want to get to the point where running the third car takes away from these guys; the priority is Jeb and Parker and making sure the Nos. 27 and 31 are the best they can be. And if we have inventory and we can sell sponsorship and we can put a car together, it’s good to have a third car because we can do a little R&D and try some stuff on it and then get creative and think outside the box, and we’ve learned a lot that way. So if [a third car] makes sense, we’ll do it.”

But for now, all the focus is on Talladega — a track where JAR has recorded one win, two top fives and four top 10s in just five Xfinity starts.

About the author

Stephen Stumpf is the NASCAR Content Director for Frontstretch, and his weekly columns include “Stat Sheet” and “4 Burning Questions.” Stephen also writes commentary, contributes weekly to the “Bringing the Heat” podcast and is frequently at the track for on-site coverage. A native of Texas, Stephen began following NASCAR at age 9 after attending his first race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Follow on Twitter @stephen_stumpf.

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