Thomas Burbage Ready to Defend East Carolina Motor Speedway Title – Sets His Eyes on a Threepeat

Thomas Burbage works off Turn 4 during an afternoon practice session at East Carolina Motor Speedway. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

With spring officially upon us here in the Mid-Atlantic Racing region it means two things; 1) We are all going to be sneezing uncontrollably for the next month and a half and, 2) Its time to go back racing! Hickory Motor Speedway kicked off their, and North Carolina’s, NASCAR Whelen All-American Series (NWAAS) last weekend with Jacob Heafner and Adam Lemke finding their way into victory lane. One week later East Carolina Motor Speedway (ECMS) is ready to dust off the marbles and get back to racing. One driver in particular is certainly ready to get back on track and defend his title.

ECMS is a rather unique, 3/8-mile high banked D-shape oval located in the small town of Robersonville, North Carolina just off route 64. The speedway was built back in the early ’90s and has a track surface that would rival that of Myrtle Beach. However, that’s not really it’s a most unique feature, in ours and most drivers we talk to opinion. How one navigates turn two can be the key to landing you in victory lane or it can be the reason you find yourself stuffed in the outside retaining wall.

Over the last two years, Thomas Burbage has really hit on something at ECMS and with some of the changes over the offseason, he looks to keep that momentum going.

“We changed a few things,” Burbage told The Weekly Racer when asked about the offseason. “Been looking at different setup packages to try and get better. We get the super sucker carb plate back and we changed a few things on the engine package to give us a little more horsepower.  Hopefully, everything works out and we can defend our title.”

Even though Burbage is going into 2019 as the two-time defending LMSC champion he knows that he and his team has to be on their game week in and week out if they want a third.

“I would say there are three to four good teams that are front runners,” Burbage said about the competition. “Louis White is always strong when it counts. Kenneth Mercer really came on strong last year and has a great long run car. Wesley Johnson fought hard all year long last year and I’m sure will be up there again this year.  We always go to the race track with the mindset of being on our game because any given weekend we can be the one chasing the leader for a win.”

 

Jesse Council Hangs Up Helmet to Spend Time with Family

For the past few years, the Street Stock division at East Carolina has been dominated by Hobgood, North Carolina driver Jesse Council. However, in 2019 we are guaranteed to see new faces in victory lane as well as the opportunity for a brand new champion. Council has decided to hang up the helmet and driving suit to spend more time with his family.

“I have sold my car and most everything I had associated with racing,” Council told The Weekly Racer. “Last year was a high note to end on. We only lost two races at East Carolina all season. Everything is great. I just want to spend more time with my wife and kids.”

With Council not returning this season, it will certainly open the door for new faces to make their trip to victory lane. Could we see Travis Roberson pull double duty in both the Street Stock and Chargers? Will Chris Connor come back from the offseason stronger than before? One thing is for certain, we will find out this Saturday afternoon when the green flag waves.

 

Charger Division Open for the Taking as Well

Doug Warren, who won the 2018 Charger track champion, will not return full time in 2019 to defend his title. In fact, Warren will make the step up to running a limited schedule in the Late Model Stock Car division. Can Travis Roberson take the top spot this year at his home track? Or, will Jeremy Bohne or Michael O’Brien step up to the plate to take the title?

Of course, titles are on the line for the Bando’s, Mini Stocks, and Bombers starting this Saturday. Cameron Murray, David Willis, Mike Parrish are all looking to defend their titles this summer respectfully. Also, making their return to East Carolina will be the INEX Legends.

Registration will open Saturday morning at 9:00 AM EDT with a two-hour practice session starting at 10:00. Qualifying is scheduled to get underway at 1:00. Bando’s will start based on their practice time, Jr Bombers & Bombers will draw for positions. Mini Stock and UCAR’s will group qualify while Street Stock, Legend, Chargers, and Late Model will all go out for single-car qualifying.

Racing is scheduled to kick off at 3:00 PM EDT. Make sure to follow The Weekly Racer’s Twitter feed for LIVE coverage beginning with qualifying.

 

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