Burton Finishes 11th in Open Race

Harrison Burton and the No. 21 Motorcraft/DEX Imaging team wound up being spectators for the NASCAR All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway, as the historic track hosted NASCAR’s premier Cup Series for the first time since 1996.

Burton and the Motorcraft/DEX Imaging team competed in the preliminary Open, where teams not already locked into the All-Star race ran a 100-lap race, with the top-two finishers, plus the winner of a fan vote, advancing to the main event.

Burton started the Open from fourth place thanks to a quick pit stop in Friday’s qualifying session, which was based on the speed of pit stops.

Burton’s starting spot put him in the outside line for the initial start, which was a disadvantage as the lower groove was faster. He dropped back to seventh place before falling into line and worked his way back to sixth, holding that spot for the remainder of the first 20 laps.

He had dropped to eighth place by the time a scheduled caution flag flew at Lap 40.

After a trip to pit road for fresh rear tires (saving his fronts for a possible late-race restart) he rejoined the field in eighth place. He dropped back early in the run, then avoided a wreck ahead of him to move back into the top 10.

Another wreck ahead of him allowed him to move to eighth place, but he dropped back on the subsequent restart after moving to sixth place on the choose. After 37 more laps of green flag racing he wound up 11th at the finish.

Burton and the No. 21 team now turn their attention to Charlotte Motor Speedway and the Coca-Cola 600 on May 28.