Like Father, Like Son: Harrison Burton Making His Own Opportunities
From the outside, it may seem as though Harrison Burton’s road to the NASCAR Xfinity Series has been an easy one. However, just because his father – accomplished racer and current NBC broadcaster Jeff Burton – enjoyed a fruitful NASCAR career, there was no guarantee Harrison Burton would enjoy that same success. The younger Burton will look to continue to build a name for himself this weekend, seeking his third win of the season at the Drive for the Cure 250 presented by BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina on Saturday.
“I think everyone has to work super hard. You don’t get to the Xfinity Series, Truck Series or Cup Series without being really, really darn good,” the younger Burton said. “I think the thing that taught me that was watching my dad do it growing up.
“He was always at the shop. He was always working out. He was always, always working to be a better race car driver. That was really something I was proud of as a kid, watching my dad do his thing and be who he was. That was something I wanted to be like when I got bigger.”
Harrison Burton, who will turn 20 on Oct. 9, started in quarter midgets and progressed up the ranks, finding success at nearly every level. He’s won multiple times in asphalt late model competition, claimed the ARCA Menards Series East championship in 2017 and earned three ARCA Menards Series victories by the time he turned 18.
“If you go back and look at his whole career, he’s never really had a chance to just sit back, settle in and spend two or three years doing something,” Jeff Burton explained. “I think it has made him better. I think it has made him appreciate opportunities. I think it’s put him in situations where he has had a chance to learn.”
When Harrison Burton was announced as part of the Joe Gibbs Racing Xfinity Series team prior to this season, some questioned his selection. They pointed to his lackluster 2019 season driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series. Entering the season, he was considered a title contender, but he failed to win or make the Truck Series playoffs.
The haters were quickly silenced early this year when Burton claimed his first NASCAR Xfinity Series victory at California’s Auto Club Speedway. He backed it up by collecting another victory a few months later at Florida’s Homestead-Miami Speedway.
So why is Harrison Burton so good behind the wheel at such a young age?
“Number one, he has talent, right? Talent can be nurtured to a point, but there’s also a certain amount of talent that where you’re not able to be competitive as you step up through the ranks,” Jeff Burton explained. “He’s fortunate enough to have some talent that God gave him. He doesn’t have that without also appreciating and understanding that if he doesn’t work really hard every day, he won’t be successful.”
Harrison Burton’s work ethic has gotten him this far. As a rookie, he qualified for the NASCAR Xfinity Series playoffs, which gives him a shot at winning the series championship. If he’s going to do that, he’ll first need to survive the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL™.
Lucky for Burton, he competed on the ROVAL™ last year in the Xfinity Series, so he’s not entering the Oct. 10 Drive for the Cure 250 presented by BlueCross and BlueShield of North Carolina completely green.
“That’s an advantage I think, just knowing the racetrack and being on kind of a level playing field with the guys you’re racing against to try to win a championship,” Burton said. “I think I’ve learned a lot from then until now, and I’m excited to go back and try it again.”
Tickets are just $50 for the racing double-header on Saturday, Oct. 10, featuring the Drive for the Cure 250 presented by BlueCross and BlueShield of North Carolina and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Series’ MOTUL 100% Synthetic Grand Prix. Kids 13 and under get in free. For details or to purchase, visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or call 800-455-FANS (3267).