DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Harrison Burton already has one trophy from this year’s AdventHealth Speedweeks at Daytona Int’l Speedway, but he’s hoping to add a second one to his collection on Friday night.
Burton is seeking a unique double-dip during the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series’ season-opening NextEra Energy Resources 250. He’s won the ARCA Menards Series event at the 2.5-mile superspeedway last weekend and is racing for powerhouse Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Truck Series.
The 18-year-old led the most laps and held off his KBM teammate Todd Gilliland for the ARCA trophy, which he already has a place picked out for when he gets back home at the end of the weekend.
“My dad has a shop back home and I’m actually going to put it in there,” Burton told SPEED SPORT. “That’s where I watch all my race film and do all my preparations each week, so I think that’s a good place to put it.”
Pausing for a moment, Burton took an extra few seconds to reflect and soak in the emotions he’s already experienced during his time in Florida this February and a victory he called “life-changing.”
“Winning that race was so cool. It was a really unique experience, to come out and learn in the middle of the race how to do everything, and then to finally get good enough at it by the end to actually be able to win was really fun,” Burton said. “I lost my voice for a while from screaming so much; I just got it back earlier in the week and just have spent time now getting ready for the Truck deal here.
“It was really neat, though. Winning is a feeling that is really hard to replicate, let alone winning a race at Daytona … it’ll stick with me for a long time.”
The Burton family legacy runs deep on Daytona’s high banks. Harrison’s father – now-NASCAR on NBC analyst Jeff Burton – won the July race at the track in 2000 and his uncle, Ward Burton, hoisted the Harley J. Earl Trophy in 2002 after conquering the Daytona 500 for Bill Davis Racing.
“When you look back at the history that not only my family has here, but the sport as a whole has here, it’s crazy to think about,” Burton noted. “The amount of stories that are here and the amount of people who have won here that are either in the Hall of Fame or should be in the Hall of Fame is incredible.
“As a racer, when you walk in here for the first time, you get chills,” he continued. “It definitely has a really high place on my list of favorite tracks, just because of the aura that’s here and knowing what’s happened here through the years. It’s not all been good things, either. There have been bad days and good days here, but that all combines together to make Daytona what it is.”
Now, Harrison Burton looks to do something that no driver has done in the history of Daytona Speedweeks – win both the ARCA Menards Series and Truck Series events in the same year.
“The ARCA race was crazy, but the Truck race is going to be even crazier,” the younger Burton laughed. “The odds of winning two in a row at Daytona are slim, and I know that, but I’m here to hopefully defy the odds and prove that it can be done. It’ll be hard though, and I’m prepared for that challenge!
“In my mind, I’m back to square one now, because you have to come here, prepare and have yourself and your team ready so that you can go to work. It takes so many things coming together to win here, and it all adds up. My crew chief, Mike Hillman Jr., always says that if you find enough bread crumbs, sooner or later you’ll find a loaf of bread, so hopefully we can get that bread and feast on Friday night.”
While Daytona is a pressure-packed environment, Burton said he and his team are focused on enjoying the moment as much as they can along the way as well.
“We have the most fun in the Truck garage, but we also work the hardest, so I think that’s a great combination,” Burton smiled. “I love it, man. I love having this team behind me and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s so gratifying.
“This is our time and I’m ready to prove what we’re capable of.”