NASCAR Xfinity Series

Early Win for Burton “Doesn’t Mean We’re Going to Stop Working.”

By: Ashley McCubbin
Photo By: Matthew T. Thacker | Nigel Kinrade Photography
When the 2019 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoor Truck Series season finished, a lot of people were beginning to question Harrison Burton’s ability behind the wheel after a series of questionable results.
Just four races into the 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series campaign, and boy has the perspective changed. Burton has emerged as one of the top stars of the series with no finishes outside the top-five, highlighted by a trip to victory lane at Auto Club Speedway.
Admittedly entering the year, Burton feels that he had the biggest chip of his career thus far on his shoulder.
“I’ve never gone a year where I didn’t win,” he said. “I won last year, right, but in an ARCA car. I’ve never I don’t think in my life – well yeah, in K&N my first season I didn’t win, but I won late model races, I won a lot that year. I won races that kind of made me still know I could do it and be confident in myself. At the time, that was probably the roughest year, but last year was probably the roughest I’ve had in my entire career.
“There’s a huge chip on your shoulder to come out and be better, win races and prove to yourself and others you can do it. I always believed in myself that I could do it, but it’s hard to say that when you’ve not won yet. Getting that win, now it was only a season, but it felt like forever for me. Getting that win definitely made me feel a lot better.”
Over the course of the truck series campaign in 2019, Burton was only able to score seven top-five’s and 11 top-10’s with no victories in a truck that he saw win championships with Christopher Bell and Erik Jones behind the wheel. Looking back, Burton enjoyed working with the team, but felt that he could’ve done a better job outside of the truck.
“You’re 18 years old, coming out of K&N, ARCA and you have to step up and be a leader as the driver of the race car – the quarterback,” he said. “You have to rally the troops, you have to bring your guys up. I feel like I needed to do a better job of being a leader last year, and I needed experience. I was limited in mile-and-a-half experience, I was limited experience in trucks in general and I needed more experience and now I have experience on bigger tracks, and I have experience doing this and that. I feel like it comes easier for me now.
“Going to a new race track like last week, it’s the first time I ever raced at California. But going to that is less daunting than it used to be because I felt like I’m more prepared because I went through that learning experience last year. I feel like if I could change anything, I could have stepped up to be a better team leader and maybe that would have helped, maybe it wouldn’t. I felt like that’s where I needed to be better and I worked on that during this off-season quite a bit.”
Though just because he got the win out of the way early does mean all the pressure is thrown out the window. He notes that just like “The Big Three” did last season, he could make the first round of the post-season much easier by winning some races and stages through the summer months.
“That gives you another weekend to learn and not be so stressed out and be getting better than your opponents who are having to work super hard on trying to get their stuff to win that weekend,” he commented. “Now, we’re going to go to every weekend with the opportunity to win and try to win because in this sport now, especially if you win, it makes your life a lot easier. We have an opportunity here to do a lot of great things that can help us later in the year as well.”
Among those great things are continuing the early success, with a focus on winning a lot of races and the championship, by trying to always be “the best in the garage when you show up.” However, being a rookie, he also recognizes that it won’t come so easy at times.
“There’s still things to learn, things to be better,” he noted. “We have a good result this weekend, but that doesn’t mean the work stops. We have to work harder to follow it up. We know we can do it, we know that we can contend and it’s our turn to adapt.”

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