Matt Burton continues family racing tradition

Posted 11/5/09

Race driver Matt Burton’s nickname is “The Pebble,” as he follows in the footsteps of his grandfather and well-known driver Richard “The …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Don't have an ID?

Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.


Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.

If you made a voluntary contribution in 2022-2023 of $50 or more, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access includes access to all websites and online content.

Our print publications are advertiser supported. For those wishing to access our content online, we have implemented a small charge so we may continue to provide our valued readers and community with unique, high quality local content. Thank you for supporting your local newspaper.

Matt Burton continues family racing tradition


Race driver Matt Burton’s nickname is “The Pebble,” as he follows in the footsteps of his grandfather and well-known driver Richard “The Rock” Burton.

And like his grandfather, he’s not one to rest on his laurels.

Even before the 2008 Englewood High School graduate picked up his trophies for top 10 in points in super stock, top five in points in modified coupe and modified coupe rookie of the year at the Colorado National Speedway’s Oct. 17 annual banquet, he was working on a car to race in a different type of competition on Nov. 1.

Burton joined the other pit crew members who were working on the car in the family’s garage Oct. 15 as they overhauled his 1977 Malibu so he can race in the 100-lap Enduro race Nov. 1 on the dirt track in Fort Morgan.

“This is completely different from racing at a paved track in an event that’s set at a specific number of laps,” he said. “Like the name indicates, Enduro races are all about endurance with the goal of completing the 100 laps. If a car breaks down or isn’t a danger to the others, it is left on the track so you are maneuvering around obstacles the whole way. It’ll be a challenge but it’ll be fun.”

He said the enduro is on a dirt track, and it will be muddy, so the car has to be almost rebuilt from the ground up in order to be competitive.

Racing is a Burton family tradition. His grandfather, Richard, has been racing and winning at local tracks for four decades. Each Saturday, the whole family headed for the track with everyone pitching in to help in the pits or by sitting in the stands cheering on the Burton drivers.

Matt said he was taken to the track for the first time when he was 3 weeks old. When he got old enough, he became a member of the pit crew and helped work on the cars.

“I hated being in the stands because I wanted to be in the pits. I always liked being in the pits, and I liked working on the cars,” he said. “But while working on the cars, I was always looking forward to the day I could get behind the wheel and go racing.”

He competed in an enduro race at 16, and last year, he entered track racing for the first time, driving his red and white No. 36 in the super stock class at Colorado National Speedway.

This year, he accepted a new challenge just two weeks before the ‘09 season when an owner asked him to drive a modified coupe.

“Super stock cars look like what you see on the street, and they handle pretty much the same,” Burton said. “That isn’t true of the modified coupe.”

He explained the modified coupe has a closed body but is an open-wheel car that is powered by a 640 horsepower engine. It is more responsive to the steering and much quicker. For example, where Burton was turning a 16-second lap in his super stock car, the modified coupe did the same lap almost 3 seconds faster.

He competed in both classifications throughout the season, sometimes racing both cars in the same night.

“You have to make a major mental adjustment to move from one car to the other,” he said. “The cars handle entirely differently, and there is a big difference in the best way to accelerate and work through the turns. It’s a challenge but its fun.”

He was in contention to win the division until he blew an engine late in the season. He still finished in the top five in the final points standings.

When he isn’t racing, Burton is a mechanic at Courtesy Ford.

But he loves chasing his dream to be a full-time driver. This year, he was among a long list of drivers who applied to be behind the wheel of an American Speed Association car. ASA is the sanctioning body for a national tour featuring late model-style stock cars. He was runner-up for the spot, and if the driver selected drops out or doesn’t work out, Burton said he probably will be tapped to take the wheel.

“I would hate to leave all my friends, but it would be a real opportunity for me,” he said. “It would be a full-time job, working on the car in the shop during the week and driving in competition on the weekend. I think it really would be a dream come true.”


Our Papers

Ad blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.