Story By: RON SZCZERBA / RPW – SHARON SPRINGS, NY – Aaron Burton grew up around racing with his family, as a fan in the grandstands, until his father Jim raced in an Enduro event and got hooked into the sport. From there, he became more than a fan, ordering a Pro Stock car from Chris Fain and starting his racing career.
“I remember the car on the trailer,” Aaron said recently. “I was 13 years old and got involved washing the car, cleaning tires, or whatever he would let me do to it. My son is 12 now and he wants to get involved just like I did.”
Back in 2012, Aaron took an old car that was on his father’s property, just a chassis and body at that time, and began his quest to race like his idol, his father Jim did.
“I wanted to put the car together for him,” Aaron said. “But he didn’t have the time to race or work on the car so I asked if I could put it together for myself. I don’t think that he took me seriously until I went to the speed shop and spent a couple thousand dollars on stuff I needed to put it together. Then he took me seriously.”
Aaron started racing in the Rookie/Limited Sportsman division at Glen Ridge in a 2004 Troyer 4-Link car that is still complete today and ready to go.
“It was one of the worse cars that a rookie could have to start out with,” he said. “It took me quite a few races to get used to the car and drive it the way it needed to be driven.”
According to the Glen Ridge all time win list in the Rookie/Limited Sportsman division, Burton’s first of a total of six wins at the track came on 8/25/2012 with the last one coming on 7/26/2013. He was crowned the 2013 Glen Ridge Track Champion in the division and his six wins currently sits second on the all-time win list.
“I was 29 years old when I started racing at Glen Ridge and in my ninth race ever at the track I won,” he said. “I decided to go to race for my first time at Fonda and I was humbled real quick.”
Burton raced at Glen Ridge a couple more years and back and forth to Fonda as well but with one car it was very tough. Three years ago in a 2006 Teo car that was purchased at the Lebanon Valley Swap Meet, Burton started racing full time at Fonda and last year on 6/24/2017 he stood in victory lane at the “Track of Champions” for the first time in his career, driving a 2015 Teo car to the victory.
“I hold Fonda near to my heart as I have been there every week since I can remember,” Aaron said. “I watched my dad go to victory lane there many times and wanted to fill his shoes as my idol. And of course I wanted to be on that list of winners at Fonda along with him and all of the other great drivers.”
For 2018 Burton will compete at Fonda in a brand new, self-owned, Teo car in the Sportsman division along with possible King of Dirt (KOD) and Glen Ridge appearances as well. “We will just play it by ear and see how things go,” he said.
THE PUSH TO GET BETTER
During his racing career Burton has had some help in order to make him a better driver and to make his car handle better as well. They have come from various sources including Bobby Varin who Aaron pits next to at Fonda, Ronnie Johnson, Josh Hohenforst, and Rocky Warner. Some pretty good company to have for a driver who is willing to learn.
“I got tired of being in the way, being just a field filler,” Burton said. “My crew guys were always after me to be a little more aggressive but there is a fine line between being more aggressive and being too aggressive so you have to be careful. Bobby (Varin) watches me on the track quite a bit and has been a big help and Rocky always joked with me that he was going to stop helping me because I was getting faster but he never did. It’s all about having confidence in the car.”
“My father is still involved with me as well and has been a tremendous help to me during my career. He comes to the track when he can and he really wants to get back in a race car. He still has the old Troyer 4-link car that he could get into but he would really like to get back into a Pro Stock.”
Sponsors on the Burton #26A for 2018 include Caruso’s Auto, Clarence Crane Rental, D & L Tree Service, Dave Prime of Mac Tools, Lance Sharpe, Chris Cross, and AC Bodyworks while the crew consists of Joe Dunn, Eric Freer, Aaron’s girlfriend Stacia, and Aaron’s son Brendan.