By Sarah Handy, Staff Writer
Loudon, N.H. — His teammate Christopher Bell may have found victory lane on Saturday afternoon, but Harrison Burton has had quite the week. A week he capped off with a solid fifth place finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Making just his second start at The Magic Mile, Harrison Burton rolled off the starting grid from the 10thposition. He showed consistency throughout the 200-lap event, finishing Stage 1 in the third position and Stage 2 in eighth but Burton stated post-race that he needs to do a better job staying with the racetrack. Even so, the young driver went on to finish fifth at The Magic Mile and capture his sixth top-five finish of the season.
Additionally, even with the solid stage results, Burton noted that he wasn’t able to fire off good enough towards the end and by the time the final stage came about, he was fighting tight conditions.
“Early in the race we [really] struggled firing off. The first run, we were great firing off and the rest of the race, we were horrible. I don’t really know why that is. I don’t know if the track took a big swing on us, but I just couldn’t fire off good enough,” explained Burton.
“The last stage, I thought we got it good to start and I just gave up too much on the end of the run and was getting tight. Just have to find a way in the middle of that, I guess. It’s so hard. I put us behind the eight ball on the first pit stop and slid through my box a little bit and just barely didn’t have enough room to get out and had to backup and lost a lot of track position. Had a really fast Dex Imaging Supra to fire and just need to do a better job of staying with the racetrack and keeping ourselves in contention throughout the whole race.”
Saturday’s race was Burton’s best finish at Loudon in two starts. In 2019, suspension issues 169 laps in left him with a disappointing 29th place finish.
Going Cup Racing in 2022
Late last week it was announced that Harrison Burton would be going full-time NASCAR Cup Series racing in 2022. The 20-year-old will pilot the legendary No. 21 Ford Mustang for the Wood Brothers starting next season.
“Since I began racing quarter midgets, the hope and goal was always to become a full-time driver in the NASCAR Cup Series,” said Burton. “Now, I get to do this with one of the most storied teams in NASCAR history; in the Wood Brothers and with an association with Ford Motor Company and Ford Performance.
I don’t think I could have dreamt of a better situation to put myself in when it comes to the start of my NASCAR Cup Series career. Add to that the technical alliance with Team Penske and the knowledge I’ll gain from working with their drivers and I’m really excited for 2022 and the future. This is a [great] opportunity for me, and I can’t thank Eddie and Len Wood enough for giving me this chance.”
While sponsorship for the No. 21 will be announced at a later date, it will continue to include support from Ford Quick Lane and Motorcraft.
“As a team owner, you always want to keep an eye for the future and what’s best for your organization; in hopes to set yourself up for success long-term,” said team President and Co-Owner Eddie Wood. “As things have progressed and changed over the last few months we had the chance to look at what our options are and when we determined that Harrison would be available for our team, we wanted to jump at the opportunity to work with him.”
This season, Burton has six top-five’s and 12 top-10 finishes.The series will next head to at Watkins Glen International on August 7.
Feature Photo Credit: Nigel Kinrade Photography / NKP Photo