The learning curve is steeper, the races are longer and the tracks are harder, but Burton remains steadfast in his belief that he will make his chance at the Cup series.
Burton, the 21-year-old son of NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee Jeff Burton, will come off a career-best finish of 14th last weekend at Darlington (SC) Raceway, one of four races this season where he finished in the lead lap.
The continued strong performance of him and his No. 21 Wood Brothers team on Sunday may have been only a small success, but it was an important step.
“It’s like the first time where I’m not comfortable with racing this car, which is pretty wild when you think about it,” Burton said. “It’s a hard racing car to drive, which is great for our sport, I think.
“When you hit it, it drives hard, so we have some notes to make now – things I like, especially based on that run, some changes I like – and hopefully that will be taken.
“For me, it’s like,‘ Oh, my gosh. I can finally be aggressive in this car. ‘ And I haven’t felt that yet and now I kind of feel like we can imitate that and still chase it. ”
Harrison Burton, Wood Brothers Racing, Ford Mustang, Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry, crash
Photo by: NASCAR Media
In his relatively short career in NASCAR, Burton enjoyed success and quickly climbed the ladder.
He won the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East title (now ARCA East) in 2017, ran fulltime at Trucks in 2019 and ran two fulltime seasons at Xfinity (with four wins) before he was tapped to drive the iconic No. . 21 Ford of this Wood Brothers. years.
Although Burton has never finished worse than 12th in any fulltime NASCAR season so far, he is currently 29th in the Cup Series standings.
“It was a rough start to say the least. Fourteenth place was our best finish, so that wasn’t pretty. There is nothing to hide, ”he said. “I think there are growing diseases there and I feel now we are rolling in the right direction.
“So, I’m excited to be back on the racetrack and hopefully be in that area to try and fight for wins and do it one at a time and get some top-10s, get some top-five and build there.
“I think if I get to a place where I’m racing for a win, I’m going to be pretty aggressive for a lot of reasons. Obviously, it’s really going to change my whole life. I think it’s going to be amazing for Wood. Brothers get their 100th win.
Whether he can put himself in position for a win this season or not, Burton said the move to the Cup Series is eye -opening and has taught him a lot about himself.
These are lessons that Burton believes will benefit his entire NASCAR career.
“I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is I won’t give up. I have nothing to let go of. I think some of the good things about this start is you build confidence in your work ethic, you build confidence in your desire, ”he said.
“When things go wrong, that’s when you know who you are. You go through hardships in life. Everyone has it and I feel it improves you. It was something that, for me, was exciting that I went through this difficult place and some really difficult moments.
“I’ve experienced things that were really frustrating, left the race track with your head bowed and Monday morning rolled around and I was as excited and motivated as ever to work and work harder than ever. My love for this sport is higher than I think because I appreciate what the Cup is all about.