With Late Model racing reaching full momentum in 2016, two familiar faces from the state of Virginia are coming together to give young racers a chance to drive and to have some fun along the way. On Monday afternoon, Commonwealth racers Peyton Sellers and Jeb Burton announced the formation of Sellers-Burton Racing.
The team will field a car in the Late Model Stock ranks beginning with Sunday’s CARS Tour season-opener at Southern National Motorsports Park (NC). But instead of putting a young driver behind the wheel, Burton himself will pilot the car for its maiden voyage.
Burton will also drive the car in other select races when he has opportunity to run short tracks in between his starts in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. At the same time, the creation of the team provides an opportunity for young drivers, who bring financial backing to the team, to drive the car when Burton is away. The effort has gained momentum only recently, but it has been in the works for quite some time.
“Jeb has driven on and off for us the last four seasons in between his NASCAR rides,” Sellers told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “He would come back on an off weekend and race with us for things like the Denny Hamlin race. We’ve had a great relationship working with him. The opportunity came up where Jeb wanted a car of his own to race. It made sense to put it out there to use the weeks he wasn’t racing and sell some opportunities for people to race.”
For Burton, the effort is about having a good time and giving the next wave of up and coming drivers the opportunity to win races.
“We’re trying to have some fun when I want to drive it and looking for someone who wants to race in a competitive car,” Burton explained. “Peyton and I can help them get up to speed both on and off the racetrack.”
The chassis comes out of the Hedgecock Racing shop with a Ford body and engine. Rocky Ridge Custom Trucks and State Water Heaters have joined the team as the first sponsors. The team, which will be headed by crew chief Jeremy Ratliff and Peyton’s brother HC Sellers, spent most of Monday testing the car and plans even more track time prior to this weekend’s CARS Tour event.
“We tested the car Monday and we have to go back Wednesday to sort out some problems. But I’m looking forward to racing it this weekend at Southern National,” spoke an excited Burton.
Although the ride is to partly serve as a “fun time” ride for Jeb Burton, he would not mind yielding it to a young driver given the proper circumstances.
“We’d love to find somebody that has the resources and the sponsors to make it go,” he said. “It’d be great to have someone run full-time for a championship somewhere.”
The Sellers Racing team will continue to field their mighty lineup of Late Models in 2016.
“We still have Sellers Racing in place with guys like Phillip Morris and Matt Bowling driving for us, that will berunning as always,” said Peyton Sellers. “But now we have this side deal with Jeb to create another opportunity to go out and race.”
There is a long friendship for those involved in the new venture, and everyone is looking forward to putting that friendship into business.
“Jeremy Ratliff helped me when I started racing,” explained Burton. “Peyton and I have been friends for years and I’ve run a couple of races for them. This deal made sense to me and I’m looking forward to it.”
“I lived with Jeb for a short period last year in Charlotte when I was doing XFINITY racing,” Sellers recalled. “I’m looking forward to continuing our friendship and putting it into business a little bit.”
Plans for the Sellers-Burton Racing team beyond this Sunday are unclear, but they will continue looking for drivers to fill the seat throughout the rest of 2016.
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com State Editor (CT, LI, MA) – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Sellers-Burton Racing