WASHINGTON, NC :: Thomas Burbage will be racing at Southern National Motorsports Park for the first time in two years when he races in the Autumn Classic on November 9th.

Burbage, 36, is a former Late Model Stock Car champion at East Carolina Motor Speedway.  When Southern National reopened in 2012, he made the trip there to compete.  Since the 2012 season, he’s been running at East Carolina where he picked up three wins in the 2014 season and finished third in points.

“We put all our time in to East Carolina,” Burbage said.  “The biggest reason was funding and another reason is it’s a lot closer to home than Southern National is.  In fact, last time we ran there was 2012 and had a really good car toward the end of the season.  We blew an engine there and it was the only engine I had.  Deac [McCaskill] actually let us rent a motor from him to finish out the season and we had four top-five finishes.”

Burbage was proud of his three wins this season but wishes McCaskill had been able to compete in the events.  Due to problems in the rear end of the car, he was unable to compete in every race at East Carolina this season.

“We had some issues at the end of the season with a rear end and it took three or four weeks to get it straightened out.  We missed a couple races, came back and the car was pretty good.  I was a little disappointed Deac didn’t show up for those three but we’ll take it however we can get it.”

Burbage is now looking ahead to the Autumn Classic and he doesn’t expect his two year absence from the Lucama, North Carolina facility to hinder his performance in any way.

“We tested last weekend and the setup I used was the same thing I had in 2012 and the car reacted pretty much the same.  We struggled with tight in the center and free off but, overall, the car was really good.  The biggest thing we fought was speed down the straightaway but, this year, I think we’ll be pretty good with that because we have Billy Banks motors behind us and I think we have a good setup going in to the Autumn Classic.  I feel pretty good.  As far as times, we did fairly well and ran what people said what we should expect to run in practice.”

Citing budget concerns, Burbage said he spent his entire test session on scuff tires which could play to his advantage in the race given the long green flag runs that are typically featured at Southern National.

“We never bolted on new tires because I was worried about temperatures.  We don’t know how cold it will be that weekend.  We run a limited budget so we have to pick and choose when we run new tires and when we don’t.”

Burbage feels he should have a chance to win the race but he would be satisfied with a top-10 finish.

“With the motor and the setup, I think we have a pretty good chance.  My expectation is to at least finish in the top-10 if we can stay out of trouble.  Those big races are very hard to stay out of trouble.”

Burbage says he plans to return to East Carolina next season and race a partial schedule at Southern National Motorsports Park.