South Carolina’s Jordan Anderson Is Embracing The Journey As A First-Time Winning NASCAR Ownerby Hunter Thomas April 23, 2023 0 comments
TALLADEGA, Ala. – Just over six months ago, Jordan Anderson was airlifted out of Talladega Superspeedway with third degree burns. Fast forward to Saturday, and the South Carolina native departed Talladega as a first-time winning owner in the NASCAR Xfinity Series after his driver, Jeb Burton won the Ag-Pro 300.
Heading into the race weekend, Anderson and his team, Jordan Anderson Racing Bommarito Autosport were one of the leading stories. Back in the fall, Jordan was competing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, when his truck caught fire. As the truck barreled towards the inside wall coming out of Turn 2, Anderson had already unbuckled to escape the flames. His truck nailed the inside wall, and Anderson barely missed being pinned up against the wall as he was sitting atop the driver’s side door. Anderson suffered third degree burns and narrowly escaped an even more catastrophic accident.
“I think it has been six months since what happened here at Talladega last fall,” Anderson said. “My wife was here with me today, she was here back then, and we were just talking, like what a roller coaster of emotions of this place. You roll into the tunnel for the first time, and you think, the last time I was here, I didn’t even drive out of the tunnel. I went out of here in a helicopter. To overcome all of that stuff and to just think about all we went through and the emotions.”
On Saturday in the Ag-Pro 300, Jordan Anderson Racing’s Parker Retzlaff started the race in fourth, and Burton started in eighth. Burton was strong all day, competing inside of the top-10. Burton finished fourth in Stage 1, and he won Stage 2. In the closing laps, Burton led the final seven laps while beating Richard Childress Racing’s Sheldon Creed to the finish line to earn his second-career series win and the first for Jordan Anderson. Retzlaff held on to finish inside the top-10 as well, as he crossed the finish line in seventh.
“To come down here and both of our cars qualify in the top-10, to win a stage, and I didn’t even know that the 31 finished seventh, like to have both cars finish in the top-10,” Anderson said. “A win and seventh is absolutely phenomenal for us. This definitely proves what we’re trying to do here. We want to be here for the long haul.”
The win was extremely special to Burton, too. The Halifax, Virginia native won his first series victory at Talladega back in 2021 with Kaulig Racing, but this year was much different. Jordan Anderson Racing began with a dully and a Late Model hauler, so Burton’s victory served as an incredibly historical moment for the small team.
“The first win was special and big for sure,” Burton said. “I think it helped me continue my career. This win right here is just as big. I think this win is just as special because it’s with a team that, you know, like Jordan said, it has come from a Late Model hauler to what it is now, and it’s growing.”
Jordan Anderson Racing competed for the first time in the NASCAR national series back in 2018; however, the journey has certainly been a long one with plenty of ups and downs. In fact, the team almost didn’t come to fruition. Anderson grew up battling his way through the grassroots level of motorsports, competing in the Pro All-Star Series and NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series. Anderson finally made his way to the former NASCAR K&N Pro Series, but unfortunately, his team owner wrote bad checks, and Anderson had to sell off his grassroots equipment to pay off the debt.
“I actually went to drive for a guy at Richmond in the K&N Series back then, and he wrote a bunch of bad checks,” Anderson said. “I put the deal together. I actually sold off everything I had at the time to pay off the debts. I moved back home with my parents. I was a year out of graduating college, and I just thought that racing was over, and oddly enough, the money I had left over from selling all of my Late Model stuff back then is what gave me enough money to make my first Truck (Series) start back in 2014.”
Between 2014 and 2017, Anderson competed in as many NASCAR national series events as possible with various teams. He did well in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Anderson regularly competed well inside of the top-20 with occasional finishes inside of the top-15; however, the year he launched his race team in 2018, is the season he earned his first top-10, and it was a ninth-place finish at Daytona International Speedway during the season-opener. Since then, he has accumulated five more top-10 finishes, including two inside of the top-five in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, as well as a top-five in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
“It literally started, you know, with two trucks, a dully and a gooseneck,” Anderson said. “What is this, five years later, to win a NASCAR race,” Anderson said. “To accomplish the goal. You know, the first goal of many more things that we want to accomplish is pretty amazing. There’s always a silver lining. I tell me guys all of the time that we’ve just got to embrace the journey.”
This year, Jordan Anderson Racing expanded to a second team in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, and the results have been getting more-and-more competitive. Burton has five top-10 finishes this season, and Retzlaff has three finishes inside of the top-10. In fact, one of his finishes was a fourth at Daytona back in February.
“I just hope for our sport, and I know there are thousands of kids and people out there like Jeb and myself that are racing Legends Cars or Late Models at a short track across the country – they’re going out there with their mom and dad, and their brother and sister, and the brother is putting tires on the car, and the dad is spotting, and they’re working all that they can do to get that car to the racetrack every week hopefully. Our story is for those people that watch us and say hey, the grassroots dream is alive and well in our sport. You set your mind to it, and you work hard enough and surround yourself with good people, you can get here, and you can win one.”
The NASCAR Xfinity Series will now head to Dover Motor Speedway for the A-GAME 200 on Saturday, April 29. The race will broadcast live on FS1 at 1:30 p.m. ET. After Dover, Jordan Anderson Racing will compete at Darlington Raceway on May 13, which is home turf for Anderson.
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