BRISTOL, Tenn. – Harrison Burton may be making his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway, but he sure didn’t look like a rookie during qualifying on Saturday morning.
Burton ripped through all three knockout rounds and posted the fifth-fastest lap (15.276/125.609) during the final round, placing his No. 18 Dex Imaging Toyota Supra fifth on the grid for the Alsco 300.
Asked by SPEED SPORT afterwards if he was sure he hadn’t done this before, Burton flashed a sly grin before laughing and shaking his head.
“No, I’m sure I haven’t,” said Burton. “That was cool, though, wasn’t it? As good as I could have hoped. The lap was solid; we just missed a little bit compared to the guys ahead of us. We’ve got a good race car, though.”
Burton, who grew up running many of the region’s short tracks in his youth, always gets pumped up any time he has the opportunity to compete at The Last Great Coliseum.
The 18-year-old has raced the .533-mile concrete oval in both NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series competition in the past.
“I’m so excited to be back at Bristol,” said Burton. “For me as a driver, I get excited to have the opportunity to race against some of the biggest names in the sport, for my first time (in Xfinity) at one of the coolest race tracks in the sport. It’s awesome.
“I remember as a kid watching my dad race there under the lights and everything. It was so cool and to be a part of that now and to grow in to that role and be an Xfinity driver is really cool,” Burton added. “I couldn’t pick a better place than Bristol to have all this be happening for me.”
Back in 2017, Burton won his first K&N East race at Bristol, leading 68 of 70 laps in a rain-shortened event. He went on to secure the series championship at the end of that season.
Even now, that victory is one that gives Burton confidence as he returns in an Xfinity car this weekend.
“Bristol is one of my favorite tracks to race at, and I feel like it’s also one of my best tracks,” noted Burton. “Getting my first K&N win there was so exciting, and I learned so much about the track in that race as well. I’m hoping I can take my skills, stay out of trouble in this race and compete for a win today.
“I think we’ve got the speed to make some magic happen.”