Former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series veteran driver Jeff Burton added another milestone to his list of accomplishments at Texas Motor Speedway.
Burton, the speedway’s inaugural Sprint Cup Series winner in 1997 and the first driver with multiple Cup victories at the 1.5-mile speedway with his second victory in 2007, became the 18th member of the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame during a special induction ceremony Thursday evening at The Speedway Club.
“It’s an honor to be part of this,” Burton said of his induction into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame. “I will always appreciate it. For the 20 years I have given, it was a hell of a ride and I enjoyed it. It was a great honor to be able to do it. I wouldn’t change anything about my career. A few more wins we’d like to have but nonetheless, I loved my career. I did it the way I wanted to do it. But the fact I even had a chance to do it was incredible.”
Burton highlighted a star-studded list of individuals honored on the evening that included three-time Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart, legendary NASCAR owners Glen and Leonard Wood, 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship contender Martin Truex Jr. and 2015 Camping World Truck Series champion Erik Jones.
Stewart, a key contributor to Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas Chapter, was awarded the Major General Thomas Sadler Award. The award recognizes individuals who have helped carry out the mission of Speedway Children’s Charities.
Stewart’s role as host of “Smoke Show” Fantasy Driving School and his generosity of donating his parade lap for auctions has helped Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas Chapter raise more than $1.5 million. Stewart, still recovering from a severe back injury following an ATV accident in January, attended the event and humbly accepted the award.
“When I joined the Cup Series in 1999, it didn’t take long to realize that NASCAR is all about families and giving back,” Stewart said. “That’s something that I have really respected from day one with our sport; how active all the drivers are. That’s something with this being my last year that is probably one of the one things I have respected is how much they (drivers) give back to their communities.”
Truex Jr. received the Texas Motor Speedway Sportsmanship Award. His spectacular 2015 season came on the heels of having to help his longtime girlfriend Sherry Pollex battle Stage III ovarian cancer. Even in the face of hard times, Truex Jr. excelled as he posted a career season with new highs for top fives, top tens and a spot in the Championship Round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Off the track Truex Jr. has continued to play a role in helping end cancer through his work with the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation. The foundation’s mission is to help support underfunded cancer initiatives and assists the individuals families affected by them.
“Perspective is a wonderful thing,” Truex Jr. said. “I learned a lot through Sherry, from her going through her battles on truly what is important in life. I’ve very, very proud to be driving racecars for a living, but I’m also very proud of what we’ve been able to give back to our community. And to people around us that we love, and most importantly to the causes that we believe that our near and dear to our hearts.”
Jones was recognized as Texas Motor Speedway’s Racer of the Year for his breakout performances at the speedway last year. He earned his first career NASCAR XFINITY Series victory during last April’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 300, defeating the likes of Dale Earnhardt Jr., Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin. He followed up his career milestone with a victory in the WinStar World Casino & Resort 350 Camping World Truck Series race that ultimately propelled him to his first truck series championship.
Brothers Glen and Leonard Wood were recognized for their contributions to motorsports with the Bruton Smith Legend Award. The brothers who formed the legendary Wood Brothers Racing have remained a staple in the sport, holding the distinction as the oldest, active team in NASCAR at 66 years and counting.
TMS Media Relations