343 - Ward Burton: Loyal to a Fault
Ward Burton – a social media darling, snake wrangler extraordinaire, southern linguistic aficionado, and one of The Dale Jr. Download’s most highly-requested guests – sits down at the table for a deep dive into his career and life with Dale Earnhardt Jr.
After Ward’s brother Jeff Burton’s appearance on the show in 2019, the crew has eagerly been anticipating this conversation with Ward. Dale Jr. and co-host Mike Davis quickly learn that Jeff's episode has recently been on Ward’s mind as well. Find out what realization Ward came to with his brother ahead of this interview.
The three Burton brothers experienced three completely different upbringings in South Boston, Virginia. Hear Ward’s perspective on his life as a child, why he was sent to military school and the impact their parents divorce had on each brother.
Ward details where his life turned once he became an adult and how a few years later, he ended up living alone in the woods for two years. Find out where he stayed, how he ate, where he bathed, and why he finds peace outdoors.
Upon his return to society, racing became an interest of Ward’s. Learn how he got into racing, why it quickly became a priority in his life and the difference between his path and Jeff’s. Hear about the night Ward beat Jeff and what that meant to the eldest Burton brother.
As Ward ascended the racing ranks, he tells Dale Jr. about his late model days, moving to the Busch Series and the race at Charlotte that garnered him the attention of the sport. Hear how his first Cup Series opportunity came about and the decision behind leaving his first team to partner with Bill Davis Racing. Then Ward shares about his time driving for Bill Davis, when they peaked and what ultimately led to the team’s downfall.
The two Daytona 500 winners trade memories of the emotion winning that race brought them and what it feels like in the moment. While Ward won the 2002 running, hear why he believes he would have been a player in the 2001 Daytona 500 finish and what he admits his team did to gain an advantage that day.
For the first time, Dale Jr. and Ward discuss their infamous run-in at Bristol Motor Speedway in 2002. Dale first shares his side of the story and Ward recalls what was running through his mind that night. Then he provides insight into his decision not to throw his helmet and why he wishes his car restarted.
Next, Ward tells Dale and Mike about getting fired from Bill Davis Racing and why his loyalty cost him a shot at other rides in the sport through the years. He shares what he learned through that experience and what he needed at that time in his career to continue racing. Then he recalls his decision to call it quits.
Now Ward enjoys other endeavors in his life, including helping his son Jeb Burton grow his racing career. Ward gets deep talking about times helping Jeb brought him to tears. Lastly, he explains how racing has given his full-time life a voice. Hear why he started a conservation organization and the emotional rollercoaster he went through growing the Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation.
In a special edition of Ask Jr. Presented by Xfinity, Dale takes questions from Xfinity Series drivers. Hear who asked a question, what Dale Jr. says about Matt Kenseth on and off the track, and what advice he has for young racers.
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