Harrison Burton and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team were swept up in a multi-car melee on Lap 189 of Sunday’s Ambetter Health 400 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, with the damage to the No. 21 Mustang too severe to be repaired in a timely manner. That dropped Burton to 34th in the finishing order.
Burton started Sunday’s race from 33rd place after getting loose in qualifying on Saturday. When the green flag flew on Sunday he spent most of the first two Stages running near the back of the pack.
He finished the first 60-lap Stage in 32nd place. In the second Stage he managed to avoid getting lapped as the Stage wound down and ended that segment in 29th place and on the lead lap.
As Stage Three got underway, Burton began to move forward. He moved into the top 25 on Lap 167 and was up to 22nd by Lap 171.
He was still inside the top 25 on Lap 189, 71 circuits shy of the finish, when a wreck that began at the front of the pack left the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Mustang with race-ending suspension damage.
“I don’t even know what caused our wreck,” Burton told reporters at the track. “I was looking back and forth between the windshield and the mirror trying to block people from being aggressive and taking you in the middle of three-wide.
“I looked back and forth and by the time I looked back they were wrecking in front of me.”
Burton said it was frustrating to see his race end as it did.
“I feel like our qualifying effort was not very good, obviously,” he said. “I about crashed in qualifying, but I felt really good about our car in the race, but I just could not gain track position to maintain it.
“It’s really, really hard to leapfrog your way forward a lot of spots. It’s just frustrating how that worked out.
“Once you’re back there, you’re bound to get pushed into all the wrecks for sure.”
Up next for Burton and the No. 21 team is next Sunday’s EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.