RICHMOND, Va. – Harrison Burton made an impact on the state of Virginia over the weekend after turning in impressive performances in two vastly-different racing disciplines.
Burton grabbed a pair of top-10 finishes in the Commonwealth State, competing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series on Friday night with Joe Gibbs Racing before going road racing on Saturday at Virginia Int’l Raceway in preparation for the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL.
In his fourth appearance of the season behind the wheel of the No. 18 Toyota, Burton remained in contention all night long, despite a few moments on restarts where he was shuffled into the middle of three-wide action and had to weave his way back forward.
Burton qualified sixth and ultimately finished there at the end of the Go Bowling 250, battling tire wear with his DEX Imaging-sponsored entry early on before things began to click for the second-generation driver.
“It was an alright day. I had a lesson in tire conservation for sure in the first stage there,” Burton noted. “We ended up burning our tires off a little bit, which is crazy because in the last stage I felt like I went just as hard and didn’t. That’s just something I have to go back and look at and lost a lot of track position there. Here, it’s so hard to pass and get it back. We struggled a lot on entry with being too loose, and it just used the right-rear tire up a lot more doing that than what we needed it to.
“The biggest thing now is that we just have to keep digging and keep rolling,” he added. “I think I had a good night and I learned a lot, and we can move on from here into the ROVAL and hopefully have some momentum going.”
Amid his full-season duties with Kyle Busch Motorsports in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series, Burton has made four Xfinity Series starts and finished in the top 10 in all but one of them. His only blemish was at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July, where a late suspension failure after contact with Paul Menard led to a DNF and 29th-place finish.
His best finish so far this year was a strong fourth at Iowa Speedway in June, but Burton’s continued and consistent prowess in NASCAR’s second-tier division has showed him to be a quick study behind the wheel.
Learning, Burton noted, has been the name of his game since he got the early-spring call up by JGR to join their Xfinity Series program this year for a handful of events.
“The best way to learn is to make mistakes,” Burton smiled. “We’ve done plenty of that, but we’ve also gotten stronger too. I think that this was definitely a good race for me, but I want to win; that’s my job as a race car driver, especially in the (No.) 18 car, is to go out and win. A top 10 with a sixth isn’t too bad, though, and I’m proud of the guys at JGR. They put together a pretty quick race car.
“I thought we were better in practice than we were in the race. I just have to learn how to transfer from day to night and what (more) I needed from the car,” he continued. “I think we’ll be hard to beat if we get it all tied together.”
Following his impressive showing at Richmond, Burton darted over to nearby VIR on Saturday to drive in the Trans-Am Series event at the technical Alton, Va., road course.
Competing in the TA2 class for Mike Cope Racing, Burton had to start last in his No. 26 entry due to missing qualifying, but that didn’t deter the teenager at all.
Burton carved his way from 25th on the grid to finish ninth, earning the Cool Shirt Cool Move of the Race Award for his efforts after advancing the most positions in the 100-miler.
“These Trans Am guys get after it, I had a lot of fun,” said Burton. “I am trying to get prepared for my NASCAR Xfinity race next week. I got a lot of great experience here with Trans Am to help me next weekend.”