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Ward Burton

Ward Burton
File:Ward Burton 1997.jpg
Burton in 1997
Born John Edward Burton III
(1961-10-25) October 25, 1961 (age 54)
South Boston, Virginia, U.S.
Achievements 2002 Daytona 500 Winner
2001 Southern 500 Winner
Led Busch Series in poles in 1993
Awards 12
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Statistics current as of April 17, 2013.

John Edward "Ward" Burton III (born October 25, 1961) is an American stock car racing driver. He has 5 career wins in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series (now Sprint Cup Series), including the 2002 Daytona 500. Burton is the older brother of fellow NASCAR driver Jeff Burton and the father of current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jeb Burton. He currently operates the Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation, a conservation and sportsmans' organization.

NASCAR Busch Series career

Burton began his NASCAR Busch Series career in the 1990 season and competed full-time for four seasons. In his first season, he had 23 starts with three Top-10 finishes, ending the season in 21st place. His results improved steadily over the next three years. For his second season, he had 29 starts with two Top-5 finishes and 10 Top-10 finishes, completing the season in 18th place.

Burton's third season in 1992 brought his first win on February 29 at Rockingham in the number 27 Gwaltney car owned by Alan Dillard. He completed the season in eighth place overall with one win, three Top-5 finishes and 10 Top-10 finishes. His final full-time season in 1993 brought three more wins, nine Top-5 and 10 Top-10 finishes, ending up in sixth place in the final points standings.

In 1995, Burton started driving for Buz McCall in the #95 Caterpillar, Inc. Chevrolet after John Tanner was released. He drove for Bill Davis Racing in 1996 for eight starts in the #22 MBNA Pontiac.

Burton did not start another Busch Series race until 1999 when he ran five more races for Bill Davis with sponsorship from Siemens. He accumulated three top-5 and five top-10 finishes including a 2nd place finish at Dover International Speedway. He also ran one race for Innovative Motorsports and their #47 Chevrolet.

In 2000, Burton ran five more races for Davis with sponsorship from Polaris Industries and one race with Innovative Motorsports. He then ran two races in 2001 for Tommy Baldwin Jr.'s new team with Pillsbury sponsorship.

On January 2, 2007 Brewco Motorsports Inc. announced Burton would drive the No. 27 Kleenex Ford Fusion in the Busch Series in 2007. Burton was to drive 20 races for Brewco Motorsports and Kleenex, beginning with the Orbitz 300 at Daytona International Speedway. He was released late in the season.

NASCAR Cup career

Burton's crew working on his 2004 car
Ward Burton's #4 car in 2007


Burton moved up to the Winston Cup Series (now Sprint Cup) in 1994. He ran 26 of 31 races in the #31 Hardee's-sponsored Chevy for Alan Dillard, Jr., winning his first career pole at Charlotte Motor Speedway and finishing 35th in standings. He returned to the #31 ride in 1995 but he was released midway through the season. He moved to the #22 Bill Davis Racing MBNA-sponsored Pontiac after 21 races, where he won the AC-Delco 400 at Rockingham.

Caterpillar became the new primary sponsor for the car in 1999, when he picked up a 9th-place points finish.


In the 2000 season, he won the 400 at Darlington Speedway and had seventeen Top-10 finishes to finish 10th in the final points standings. Davis Racing switched to Dodge in the next season, when he won the Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway and had ten Top 10 finishes to finish 14th in the final points standings.

In the Daytona 500, the entire race Burton drove among the lead cars and was among the lead pack late in the race. During a red flag period, Burton was in 2nd place. However, he took the lead during that red flag when the previous leader Sterling Marlin climbed out of his car to try to fix a fender during the red flag, drawing a penalty as repairs are prohibited under red flag conditions. With Marlin sent to the back of the field for a restart, Burton inherited the lead. He maintained the lead and held off Elliott Sadler and Geoffrey Bodine for the win.[1]

He also won the New England 300 at Loudon, New Hampshire, but due to numerous mechanical failures, he fell to 25th in the standings. Another highlight of the year was a wreck at Bristol where Burton threw his brakepads at Dale Earnhardt, Jr. for wrecking him in turn 3 late in the race.

2003 was a season of poorer finishes for Burton. He only had four Top 10 finishes, and he left Bill Davis Racing with five races left in the season to begin driving the #0 NetZero-sponsored Pontiac for Haas CNC Racing. He finished the season 21st in the final points standings.

In the 2004 season,Burton raced Haas CNC Racing's NetZero HiSpeed-sponsored #0 car to three Top-10 finishes, but was released from the team with two races left in the season. He spent the next two seasons as a free agent. He returned to the Sprint Cup series late in the 2006 season, driving the #4 Lucas Oil-sponsored Chevrolet for Morgan-McClure Motorsports. His first race was the Subway 500 on October 22, 2006 at Martinsville Speedway. He started in 35th place and finished 26th, the last car on the lead lap. In his next driving opportunity, on November 5, 2006 at Texas Motor Speedway, he started in 37th place and finished 25th. On December 12, 2006 Ward signed with Morgan-McClure Motorsports to drive the #4 car full-time in 2007. In 2007, Ward's performance was lackluster, posting a best finish of 14th. On November 12, 2007, he was released from Morgan-Mcclure Motorsports so that the team could "evaluate performance." Morgan-McClure closed up shop shortly afterward.

Following his release, Burton did not officially retire; however, it was not until 2012 that he returned to NASCAR, signing with Hillman Racing to run in the season-opening Camping World Truck Series race at Daytona International Speedway, as well as selected races later in the year as a teammate to his son Jeb.[2]

Burton joined Turner Scott Motorsports as a driver coach for the team starting in 2013, where he assisted with driver development for the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series teams. However, just prior to the start of the 2014 season, the primary sponsor of the team defaulted on a payment, and the team was shut down.[3]

Virginia Board of Game and Inland Fisheries

On November 1, 2005, then Virginia Governor Mark R. Warner appointed Burton to the Virginia Board of Game and Inland Fisheries.[4] As a resident of Halifax County, Virginia, Burton assumed the seat on the board for Virginia's 5th Congressional District that was formerly held by C. Wilson McNeely, IV, who resigned after six years of service.

Burton, an avid sportsman and conservationist, is the founder and president of The Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation, and he has been a spokesperson for Virginia's 34 state parks since 2003.

Further achievements in conservation

  • The Governor's Environmental Excellence Award, 2008.
  • Honorary co-leader of the Virginia Natural History Museum in Martinsville fundraising efforts.
  • Partner with the Natural Resources Conservation Service to create awareness for the need to protect and create additional wetlands in America.
  • Involved with the 4-H clubs in Alabama and Virginia through PSAs and assisting 4-H clubs to conduct wildlife enhancement programs on Foundation land.

Personal life

Burton and his wife, Tabitha, have three children—John Edward IV (Jeb), Sarah, and Ashton. He owns several hundred acres of hunting land in rural Virginia close to his hometown of South Boston, Virginia.

Motorsports career results


Daytona 500 results

Year Manufacturer No. Start Finish Team
1994 Chevrolet 31 DNQ Dillard
1995 Chevrolet 21 15 Dillard
1996 Pontiac 22 13 26 Davis
1997 Pontiac 17 8 Davis
1998 Pontiac 9 25 Davis
1999 Pontiac 18 24 Davis
2000 Pontiac 6 8 Davis
2001 Dodge 10 35 Davis
2002 Dodge 19 1 Davis
2003 Dodge 17 38 Davis
2004 Chevrolet 0 19 17 Haas/CNC
2007 Chevrolet 4 DNQ McClure

Camping World Truck Series


  • The Unauthorized NASCAR Fan Guide 1998-99, by Bill Fleischman and Al Pearce (1999)

External links

Preceded by
Michael Waltrip
Daytona 500 Winner
Succeeded by
Michael Waltrip
Preceded by
Bobby Labonte
Southern 500 Winner
Succeeded by
Jeff Gordon