Tag Archives: Thomas Burbage

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.


Wesley Johnson Kicks off 2018 with a Win

Robersonville, NC – Thomas Burbage looked like he was the man to beat early on through both morning practices but the 2017 track champion couldn’t find the top spot once qualifying rolled around. Wesley Johnson ran the fastest lap out of the seven cars on hand with a 15.055 second lap, Burbage ran a 15.061.

Once the green flag flew Johnson showed how strong he would be for the 50 lap feature. Burbage tried making a move on the first lap but could not get the leader out of the best line. Starting last in the field Rusty Daniels started his push to the top-3.

Former track champ Jeff Shiflett moved into second place seventeen laps in and Daniels followed him and took third pushing Burbage back to 4th. It looked like Burbage maybe guessed wrong on the setup for the race. At almost the halfway mark Daniels was able to move into second place and looked at a big 2.7 second gap to close on Johnson who enjoyed everyone battling behind him.

With eight laps to go Daniels cut that lead down to just a second but as the leaders started going through lapped traffic Rusty couldn’t get by that easily. Johnson’s lead stretched out enough for him to be able to cruise the last couple of laps to start his season off with grabbing a win.


In the charger division Jeremy Bohne won the opener after a caution filled but entertaining race where it looks like some rivalries might have been born.

The street stock division saw Jesse Council, who took 2017 off, lead from green to checkers after a very fast qualifying lap laid down earlier in the day.


Late Model Results:

1. Wesley Johnson

2. Rusty Daniels

3. Jeff Shiflett

4. Thomas Burbage

5. Justin Gill

6. Maddy Ryan -1

7. Kenneth Mercer -42

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.

Thomas Burbage Leads Flag-to-Flag at East Carolina for First Win of 2017

Thomas Burbage, and crew, celebrate in victory lane Saturday night, April 15, 2017, at East Carolina Motor Speedway after leading all 50-laps from the pole. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com

Thomas Burbage, and crew celebrate in victory lane Saturday night, April 15, 2017, at East Carolina Motor Speedway after leading all 50-laps from the pole. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com

Robersonville, NC – Thomas Burbage, who has been around East Carolina Motor Speedway most of his life, found himself in control of his own destiny Saturday night as he put on a racing clinic at the high-banked 3/8-mile speedway in Robersonville. Burbage was the fastest car in the late afternoon qualifying time trial session posting a quick lap of 15.150 seconds or 93.861 mph. Tyler Matthews, the 2016 North Carolina state champ took the green flag to his outside just six-thousandths of a second off the pole.

Once it was time to get down and dirty Burbage hammered the throttle and cleared the field going into turn one. Matthews stuck on the outside had Louis White to deal with on his inside. Louis was able to get the position by the time the field came back around to complete the first lap. Wesley Johnson used the top groove to his advantage to get around previous East Carolina champion Jeff Shiflett.

While all of that went on behind him Burbage had opened up over a full second lead over the field and did not appear to be looking back at all – slowly increasing his lead lap by lap. It took a couple laps for Matthews to get around White for the second position. Once he made the pass he set his sights on the #9 of Burbage – to his dismay, it did not look like anyone was going to be able to touch the nine car. In fact, Matthews had a huge check up going into turn three as they were working lap thirteen that allowed Louis White to make final pass for the second position.

Other than Jeff Shiflett getting around the 12 of Wesley Johnson for the fourth position and a slip up from Kenneth Mercer that allowed Ryan Haddock to take the position, it was a rather calm race. Burbage was able to open up just over a three second lead over White. Louis did close the gap down to about a second and a half as the race came to an end but, it was an easy trip to victory lane for the Oak Ridge Metal’s machine of Thomas Burbage.

“Man it feels great to be back in victory lane,” Burbage said after the race. “You never know when you’re going to win the next one and when you do you got to celebrate as hard as you can. This is just like the big leagues, we don’t take these wins for granted and when we can get them it’s a pretty cool deal.“

Burbage is coming off a lackluster fourth place finish on opening night after showing speed during qualifying that night. This past Saturday, however, Burbage was not going to be denied from his pole and his win.

“We worked our tails off today man,” Burbage explained. “All the way from eight o’clock this morning to now. It paid off for sure, we made some big swings this morning and found some stuff that we didn’t know anything about. It was pretty refreshing to find some speed and something that would last until the end of the race.”


Street Stocks

Travis Roberson found himself out front of one of the more interesting Street Stock races when the checkered flag flew at East Carolina Motor Speedway. Roberson, who was the second fastest of seven cars who showed up this weekend, jumped out to an early lead once the race finally got underway and never looked back. After five attempts to go green Roberson was clear of Mike Cooper by turn two and really turned the burners on.

You would have thought the full moon was out down here in Robersonville after trying to get this one started from jumped stars to stalled cars and spins. It seemed that Jesse Council, who was subbing for Jamie Tucker in the #77 has the worst luck on the night after being involved in a couple of the cautions. Ultimately, Council’s night would be finished early after contact was made with Ed Lane who spun in turn four to bring out on of the evenings cautions.

Once the field got settled down and the remaining cars strung out it was smooth sailing for Roberson in his Dale Earnhardt tribute Street Stock. Stretching his lead out to just over three seconds over eventual second place finisher Mike Cooper.

“It feels great,” Roberson said in victory lane. “I got a lot of people who help me out that don’t want there name said but they put a lot of effort in this car. If it were not for them I would not be able to do what I do. What ever I need they step up and make sure I get it.”

We asked Travis about the start of the race and what the officials told him and Mike Cooper on the back stretch after one of the many green flag attempts.

“Its all a mind game,” Roberson said about the start of the race. “It’s all about who can get the jump first. Whoever gets that jump most of the time will get the lead. You have to try and time the flagman and he is never goes at the same time every time, you just have to do the best you can do.”

Late Models will be back in action at East Carolina Saturday, May 6th along with Street Stocks, UCARS, Bando’s, Trucks, Chargers and Bombers.


Late Model Stocks UNOFFICIAL Results:

1.#9 Thomas Burbage; 50
2.#7 Louis White; 50
3. #63 Tyler Matthews; 50
4. #01 Jeff Shiflett; 50
5. #12 Wesley Johnson; 50
6. #33 Ryan Haddock; 49
7. #25 Kenneth Mercer; 26


Street Stock UNOFFICIAL Results:

1.#3 Travis Roberson; 35
2. #40 Mike Cooper; 35
3. #21 Jimmy Horner; 35
4. #7 Ed Lane; 35
5. #38 Chris Conner; 34
6. #51 Andy Ipock; 21
7. #83 Scott Lawrence; 18
8. #77 Jesse Council; 8

Burbage Shakes the Bad Luck – Returns to Victory Lane at East Carolina


📸 Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com

Robersonville, NC“Man that was one of the most fun I have had in a race in a long time,” an excited Thomas Burbage said in victory lane the past weekend at East Carolina Motor Speedway. Burbage had shown speed all afternoon and it transferred to both qualifying and race time. Despite having minor scoring issues, that were fixed before race time, Burbage tied for the pole position with points leader Brenden Queen with a time 15.44 seconds. Burbage would have to settle for the outside pole after race control confirmed per track rules the “advantage” would go to the diver who clocked their lap first.

After an intense battle for the lead, Burbage was able to get around Queen using what a lot of people at East Carolina have a hard time using – the high line! “It’s hard to pass on the outside here,” Burbage also said in victory lane. “Specially with Brenden on the inside of you. He’s a good driver and he will certainly make you work for it. I’m just so happy to be out of this drought.” Things seemed to get off to a rocky start quite literally when flagman Terry Bullock did not like the original start, waiving it off calling for take two. There was however a large delay in the caution lights as the field set off into one causing the middle of the pack to stack up. Terry Carroll of Williamsburg, Va got the worst end of that deal and ended up nose first into the outside wall. His night was over before it even had a chance to get started.

The field was reset and would make a second attempt at the start. This go round was much better and the field went to work out of two. Burbage wasting no time applying pressure to Queen to his inside. The two put on quite a show for the next three laps with Queen edging him at the line each lap. After getting some good heat in the tires Burbage’s car really seemed to hook up and that’s when he took the lead from Queen and never looked back.

There was a brief battle behind them for the third spot with Louis White, who is locked in a very tight points battle with Queen for the track championship, getting by Tyler Matthews and locking his sights on Queen for second. Michael Fose and Justin Carroll would also go to work for several laps battle for the fifth position. Carroll doing everything in his power to keep Fose at bay creating some pretty exciting racing for sure!

Couple interesting moments for the leaders working through lap traffic that could have ended worst than they did. Burbage ended up catching a pair of lap cars who were battling for position coming to ten to go. Luckily the two were able to sort things out and did not hold up the top two drivers. Louis White on the other hand had a scary moment in turns three and four that found himself chasing his car up e hill after making contact with Maddy Mulligan’s car who looked to push up the racing surface. White was able to gather things back up and Mulligan kept her machine straight to finish the race.

With nothing in his windshield left to worry about and Queen a safe distance in his rear view it was smooth sailing to victory lane. “Man I’m tickled to death to be back in victory lane,” Burbage told The Weekly Racer. “Specially with these bump stops man. This is the second race running these new bump stops and the car seems to like it.” Burbage finally made the switch from the conventional set up to he newly allowed bump stops a couple weeks ago. Ironically enough right after finding a shock had gone bad. “I just felt like I needed to go head and make that change,” Burbage told us about going to bump stops. “I needed to do something before we got to far behind.”

Burbage would go on to finish within the top five in the second 40-lap feature of the evening. Though it was not a sweep, a top five is nothing to shake a stick at. Burbage told us he just missed the adjustment from the first to second race but was pleased with all the hard work from his guys and his sponsor Oakridge Metals.

OFFICIAL Late Model Race 1 Results
1. #9 Thomas Burbage; 40
2. #03 Brenden Queen; 40
3. #7 Louis White; 40
4. #54 Michael Fose; 40
5. #91 Justin Carroll; 40
6. #63 Tyler Matthews; 40
7. #12 Dean Shiflett; 40
8. #12 Wesley Johnson; 40
9. #01 Jeff Shiflett; 40
10. #33 Ryan Haddock; 39
11. #29 Paul Williamson;
12. #77 Wes Burton; 39
13. #10 Maddy Mulligan; 38
14. #29 Melvin Langley; 20
15. #55 Gerald Benton: 4
16. #03 Mike Queen; 2
17. #90 Terry Carroll; DNF
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