Strong Cup Series Debut for Burton at Talladega
20-Year-Old Drives DEX Imaging Toyota Camry to 20th-Place Finish
Date: April 25, 2021
Event: GEICO 500 (Round 10 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway (2.66-mile oval)
Format: 188 laps, broken into three stages (60 laps/60 laps/68 laps)
Start/Finish: 39th / 20th (Running, completed 191 of 191 laps)
Note: Race extended three laps past its scheduled 188-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.
Race Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Matt DiBenedetto of Wood Brothers Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Bubba Wallace of 23XI Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60):
● Harrison Burton started 39th and finished 25th.
● Burton had the No. 96 DEX Imaging Toyota Camry up to 25th by lap 16.
● “Pretty neutral here,” Burton reported about his racecar after 18 laps.
● During a fuel-only pit stop during the competition caution on lap 27, Burton departed the pit box with his fuel can still attached. The infraction forced Burton to restart at the tail-end of the longest line.
● He lined up 39th for the lap-31 restart.
● By lap 35, Burton was up to 24th.
● During a caution period from laps 40-43, Burton stayed out to maintain track position. “Still neutral on balance,” Burton said about his DEX Imaging Toyota.
● Burton restarted 16th on lap 44.
● As draft ebbed and flowed, Burton rose to 13th on lap 45 but then settled into 25th as the stage drew to a close.
● The team pitted for four tires and fuel at the conclusion of the stage,
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-120):
● Burton started 19th and finished 10th.
● He rose to 14th before pitting with his fellow Toyota drivers under green for fuel only on lap 93.
● The No. 96 DEX Imaging Toyota Camry was 23rd on lap 100 after pit stops cycled through.
● Burton stayed out during a caution on laps 105-109 and lined up 13th for the lap-110 restart.
● Burton rode the high line into the top-10 on lap 115.
● He deftly avoided a wreck in the tri-oval on lap 120 to finish the stage an impressive 10th.
● Burton pitted for four tires and fuel at the end of the stage.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 121-191):
● Burton started 10th and finished 20th.
● The No. 96 DEX Imaging Toyota Camry was 28th on lap 140 as the field ran single file around the 2.66-mile oval.
● Burton made a scheduled, green-flag pit stop for fuel and right-side tires on lap 155.
● After pit stops cycled through, Burton was 26th.
● Burton took advantage of a caution and pitted on lap 173 for four tires and fuel, then lined up 22nd for the lap-176 restart.
● He worked his way into the top-10 when the final caution flag flew on lap 186. Staying on track, he restarted seventh for the green-white-checkered finish on lap 189.
● The high line Burton chose for the final two laps got bogged down, and he fell to his finishing position of 20th.
● Just by starting the GEICO 500, the 20-year-old Burton became the first driver born in the 2000s to take part in a NASCAR Cup Series race. He was born on Oct. 9, 2000.
● Brad Keselowski won the GEICO 500 to score his 35th career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his sixth at Talladega. His margin over second-place William Byron was .102 of a second.
● There were seven caution periods for a total of 34 laps.
● Only 26 of the 40 drivers in the GEICO 500 finished on the lead lap.
● Denny Hamlin remains the championship leader after Talladega with an 87-point advantage over second-place Martin Truex Jr.
Harrison Burton, driver of the No. 96 DEX Imaging Toyota Camry for Gaunt Brothers Racing:
“It was a lot of learning. It was pretty fun, just a different level of competition when you’re against these guys. It makes you better when you go back to Xfinity, hopefully, and it makes me a better driver. Just happy I had the chance to come out here and do it. I very rarely get emotional or that excited before races because I’m so focused, but this weekend was pretty neat. I’m thankful for the opportunity to do it. It was pretty awesome, and can’t wait to do it again someday. Talladega is so tough in general, just a lot going on at once. Learning a new team, spotter and crew chief with all of that going on, too, is a big challenge, but it was the same (as racing in the Xfinity Series) but different, if that makes any sense at all. It was definitely different. The level of intensity was different, but the main fundamentals are basically the same.”
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Buschy McBusch Race 400 on Sunday, May 2, at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. The race begins at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.