Harrison Burton, driving the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Mustang, came away from a crash-filled Coca-Cola 600 with a Cup-career-best 11th-place finish.
Burton started the race from 17th position but spent much of the early going at the back of the lead pack. He was 31st at the end of the first 100-lap Stage and as the first driver one-lap down got the free pass to rejoin the lead lap.
In Stage Two Burton joined the growing list of drivers involved in crashes. The Motorcraft/Quick Lane Mustang received damage to the left front and the suspension in a multi-car crash on Lap 192, but the crew patched up the car the best they could and sent him back into the battle.
Despite the damage to the No. 21 Mustang, Burton and the team soldiered on in a race that turned into a battle of attrition. Burton was able to pick up some speed and finished the third 100-lap Stage in 19th place.
In the fourth and final Stage, Burton once again was in or near crashes but steered clear of race-ending damage to his Motorcraft/Quick Lane Mustang as the race total of caution flags swelled to 18.
He earned his second free pass on the 17th caution of the night, which flew on the first attempt at an Overtime finish, and moved into the top 15.
Burton again emerged relatively unscathed and continued on in the second Overtime attempt, where he wound up 11th in a race that was extended by 13 laps to a NASCAR-record 619.5 mile. He was the race’s highest-finishing rookie.
Eddie Wood said he was proud of Burton and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team for the effort they put in during a difficult race. He said that was especially important as the team was honoring the memory of U.S. Air Force Capt. Jason Ramsey as part of the 600 Miles of Remembrance.
“Capt. Ramsey was a friend of the Burton family, and we all wanted to run all the laps and honor him from the start to the finish of the race,” Wood said, adding that a good finish is also a boost for the entire team. “They have worked hard, and this will do them all good.”
Burton and the Wood Brothers team now head to World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway in Madison, Ill., for Sunday’s Enjoy Illinois 300, a new event and venue on the Cup Series schedule.