Thomas Burbage Wins Fourth Annual Ronnie Barnett Memorial and East Carolina Motor Speedway Championship.

Thomas Burbage dials in the #9 Oak Ridge Metals machine during the second round of practice at East Carolina Motor Speedway. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Robersonville, NC – A typical race season for any driver, in any division, is never easy. Going through the heat of the summer battling other like-minded individuals all gunning for the same thing.  Throw in a broken shoulder towards the end of an already hot and grueling summer and you really have your hands full with a racecar. Thomas Burbage, however, was not going to let that get in the way of his season.

As the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series points came to a close so did the individual track points. For the fourth year in a row, East Carolina Motor Speedway hosted its Ronnie Barnett Memorial race to close out the season. Burbage, from Washington, North Carolina, was the fastest man in town winning his ninth pole of the season needing just one lap to do so. Wesley Johnson, a recent winner at East Carolina under Limited Late Model rules during the 6th Annual Mischa Sell Memorial race, and Maddy Mulligan would qualify in the top three.

Burbage continued his domination of the weekend picking up the victory leading all 50-laps of the feature. Wesley Johnson would work his way around Louis White in the closing laps for a second place finish. Jeff Shiflett would also benefit and earn the final spot on the podium. Burbage’s six wins at East Carolina was enough to allow him to clinch the 2017 Late Model track championship, his second career track title and first under the NASCAR banner, and punch his ticket to Charlotte.

“I definitely want to thank my crew – my racing family,” Burbage told The Weekly Racer. “The guys that 150% made this a reality and definitely my sponsor Oak Ridge Industries and Kevin Boyd for keeping my dream alive.  I want to thank my best friend Chris Smith for busting his tail at the shop by himself while I’ve been injured.  He stepped up and told me that he would do everything in his power to help me win this championship if that’s what I wanted to do and here we are.  Pretty sweet to do it with one arm tied behind your back.”

After he and his wife welcomed their new baby boy into this world Burbage had a freak accident prior to race weekend where he broke his shoulder, grabbing the win at the Ronnie Barnett Memorial along with the championship was just the ending to a wild and crazy year he needed.

Burbage will look to take some time off from the race car to allow his shoulder to fully heal. He told us that he has all intentions to run Carteret in October with the hopes of running the Thanksgiving Classic at Southern National Motorsports Park or even Ace Speedway.

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