Thomas Burbage Capitalizes On Start – Leads Flag to Flag at East Carolina
Robersonville, NC – “This is amazing,” Burbage said after the race. “I cant even put it into words.” Burbage, who qualified on the outside pole earlier in the afternoon after putting down a lap of 15.463 – just two hundredths of a second off of eventual pole winner Tyler Matthews. We should point out that drivers took to a green track for qualifying time trials. A small, fast moving cell came through the area around 4:00 PM just as drivers were about to hit the speedway for second practice. Putting down plenty of water onto the racing surface. Luckily, thanks to the banking and warmer conditions earlier in the after, track drying efforts only took about an hour.
As mentioned above Tyler Matthews would claim the pole with the time of 15.440. Thomas Burbage, Brenden Queen, Louis White, and defending track champion, Jeff Shiflett would complete the starting five.
When asked if the rain had played any role in the setup for the race, knowing the track would be green, Burbage let us know he thought the rain actually helped free his car up. “I think it actually freed my car up,” Burbage told us. “We have been struggling with stagger the past two races and just had to much in the front end and the car got tight. We finally got a set of tires that were much better on stagger. I really think the rain helped us.”
Burbage wasted no time taking the lead from Matthews as flagman Terry Bullock displayed the green flag to the field. Burbage took off from the top groove like he was shot out of a cannon and had the lead by the time the field entered one. “Most of the time I am watching that flagman and the moment I see him raise that hand I’m gone,” Burbage said in victory lane. “Most of the time it works out for me. I was hopping it would work there and it did. I am not sure if Tyler spun the tires there or what but once we got out front that was it.”
Unlike last week, when Burbage started on the outside pole and used the car up to quick, the crew made the right adjustments and with the right tires, the race played in his favor. “We just used up our tires to early last weekend trying to put pressure on Brenden trying to make him make a mistake,“ Burbage said. “It just never happened and we burned up our stuff. On the initial start I pushed the car as hard as it would go, just to get an idea of what I had. After I got a good pace going and a good gap over second I actually backed off and started riding a little bit trying to find that happy medium, and the rest was history!”
We also asked Burbage how he felt after the race with the Late Models making the move to the two-tire rule. Especially after struggling early on with getting the right set-up under the car. “The money is great,” Burbage mentioned. “You’re not spending that $650 compared to the $425. It’s a whole different ball game. It’s a luck of the draw but Mark has been doing a great job and keeping things pretty even with the tires.”
Burbage had to thank his sponsors Oakridge Industry, PPG, Grafix Unlimited for giving him the car to win. Also had to thank his crew who help prepare the car week in and week out along with his family. He also thanked the Perry’s for giving him an affordable place to race. Louis White, Tyler Matthews, Kenneth Mercer, and Brenden Queen would make up your top five finishers.
Full recap and results to follow. Stay tuned for more stories from this past Saturday night at East Carolina Motor Speedway.