The prospects for Harrison Burton and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team looked bleak after Burton was spun by another driver while racing to avoid getting lapped in the closing circuits of Stage One of Sunday’s Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway.
Burton was at one time two laps down, but he, crew chief Jeremy Bullins and the rest of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team responded and came away with a 15th-place finish.
Burton got one of his laps back following the Lap 103 spin by taking the wave-around during the caution period at the end of the first 130-lap Stage.
He got the second lap back when he earned the free pass by being the first driver off the lead lap when the caution flag flew at Lap 304 for an incident involving Carson Hocevar and Ty Gibbs.
Returning to the track after a pit stop, Burton continued his trek forward. A key move came during a caution period at Lap 325 when Bullins called him to the pits for right-side tires and fuel. He had just made a stop 20 laps earlier, but the later stop assured him he’d have enough fuel to make it to the checkered flag.
Burton maintained his spot among the top 20 for all but a handful of the final 168 laps, that ran under the green flag to the finish.
As drivers who made their final stops earlier than him headed to pit road under green in the closing laps, Burton motored by them to finish 15th.
Burton and the Wood Brothers team also offered their congratulations to Team Penske and Ryan Blaney, who won the race and earned a spot among the final four who will compete for the Cup Series championship next Sunday in the season finale at Phoenix Raceway.