After sustaining minor fender damage from a mid-race spin, Harrison Burton was able to battle his way back to a third-place finish in Thursday’s Buckle Up In Your Truck 225 at Kentucky Speedway. While racing hard for a position within the top five on a restart just short of the halfway mark of the 150-lap race, Burton found himself three-wide in the middle, got aero loose and ended up spinning down the track in front of the field. Fortunately, he was able to get the path of his Safelite AutoGlass Tundra corrected quickly and miraculously escaped with just minor fender damage.
After getting four fresh tires and cosmetic repairs, Burton would finish 13th in Stage Two. With his Toyota already having fresh tires and not having to pit between stages, the 18-year old driver would line up fourth when the Final Stage went green on lap 76. The rookie remained inside the top five for the majority of the race and would bring his Toyota home in the third spot. The third-place result equaled his career-best finish, which he has achieved three times in 2019 and five times overall in his young career.
Burton was able to move up one spot to fifth in the driver point standings and late in the race it appeared that he would move above the cutoff line for the playoffs, but Brett Moffit ran out of fuel with two laps remaining which allowed Tyler Ankrum to collect the victory and a spot in the playoffs. With three races remaining in the regular season, the No. 18 team sits ninth on the playoff grid, 44 points behind Matt Crafton for the eighth and final spot.
Stage One Recap:
- Burton started the 150-lap event from the sixth spot and with a strong restart was able to move up to the fourth position in the early laps. He communicated that his Safelite Tundra was “chattering the front tires,” as he had slid back to sixth when Stage One reached its completion on lap 35.
Stage Two Recap:
- Crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. summoned Burton to pit road, where the over-the-wall crew put on fresh right-side tires, with an air pressure adjustment, made a trackbar adjustment in an effort to improve the handling of the No. 18 Toyota, and filled the truck with fuel.
- The North Carolina native was scored in the seventh spot when Stage Two went green on lap 44. He lost two spots on the restart and was scored ninth when a caution occurred two laps later.
- Burton rebounded on the ensuing restart, gaining three positions initially and then quickly gained two more to put himself in the fourth spot when the third caution of the event occurred on lap 56.
- After one of the top-three trucks pitted under caution, The Safelite Tundra was in the inside lane of the second row for the lap-59 restart. Once the field crossed the stripe, Burton moved to the bottom of the track in an effort to keep Ross Chastain from dive bombing him, but was unsuccessful and Chastain wedge his truck to the inside of Burton forcing him up the track. At the same time, Brett Moffit moved to Burton’s outside and sucked the air off the No. 18 Toyota and sent Burton spinning.
- While sliding across the track in front of the field, Burton was able to quickly get his Tundra pointed in the right direction after contact from another truck. When pit road opened, bought his truck to the attention of his over-the-wall crew.
- The crew put on four fresh tires, repaired the fender damage and sent their young driver back to the track scored in the 16th spot. Burton was able to gain three spots before a two-race accident on lap 65 would bring the stage to completion under caution.
Final Stage Recap:
- With fresh tires already on the Safelite Tundra and no lingering issues from the accident, Hillman Jr. elected to keep his driver on the track between stages. Burton was scored in the fourth position when the Final Stage went green on lap 76.
- As the top-five trucks headed into Turns three and four on the first lap jockeying for position, the talented teenager was able to pull off a three-wide pass and came down the frontstretch in the runner-up spot.
- On lap 82, he fell back one position to third and on lap 90 he fell back to fourth, where he continued to run when green-flag pit stops began on lap 110.
- After the top-two trucks pitted, the Safelite Tundra moved up to second before hitting pit road under green-flag conditions on lap 120.
- The over-the-wall crew put on fresh right-side tires, made a chassis adjustment and filled the No. 18 Toyota with just enough fuel to make it to the end of the race.
- When pit stops cycled through with 25 laps remaining, Burton was scored in the seventh position. He moved up to sixth with 23 laps remaining and then to fifth with 15 laps remaining.
- After Brett Moffitt ran out of fuel while leading with two laps remaining, Burton would finish the race equaling a career-best third-place finish. Unfortunately, with Moffitt running out of fuel Tyler Ankrum picked up the victory and earned a spot in the Gander Trucks Playoffs. With Ankrum in, Burton slid off the playoff grid to the ninth position with three regular season races remaining.
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