Safelite Driver Gets Shuffled Back on Late-Race Restart
Date: Feb. 23, 2019
Event: Ultimate Tailgating 200 (Race 2 of 23)
Series: NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS)
Location: Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway (1.5-mile quad-oval)
Format: Three Stages; 40 laps/40 laps/50 laps
Start/Finish: 2nd/8th (Running, completed 130 of 130 laps)
Winner: Kyle Busch of Kyle Busch Motorsports (Toyota)
Harrison Burton ran inside the top three for the majority of Saturday’s Ultimate Tailgating 200 and was lined up on the front row alongside his owner and teammate Kyle Busch when the field took the green flag with five laps remaining. Unfortunately for Burton, the outside lane lacked grip and he didn’t get up to speed as fast as the inside line and lost several positions. Busch would go on to pick up a NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series’ record 52nd win, while Burton would be forced to settle for an undeserving eighth-place finish.
Stage One Recap:
- After Saturday morning’s qualifying session was washed out, Burton earned the second-place starting position based off the No. 18 team’s placement in the 2018 Owners’ point standings.
- The Safelite Tundra fired off strong and Burton was able to lead the first lap before settling back into the second position. He would remain in the second spot for the entire first stage but communicated that his Toyota was “a touch too tight.”
Stage Two Recap:
- When pit road opened, crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. summoned the Safelite Tundra to pit road for four fresh tires, with an air pressure adjustment, and a full tank of fuel.
- Burton returned to the tack scored in the fifth position when Stage Two went green on lap 46. After getting put three-wide shortly after the field crossed the stripe, the 18-year-old driver subsided to the eighth position. Burton had gained one spot back when the field was slowed for the third time on lap 53 for debris on the track.
- The Safelite Tundra restarted sixth on lap 57 and then slowly maneuvered its way back towards the front of the field. Burton would cross the stripe third to end Stage Two on lap 80.
Final Stage Recap:
- Burton once again communicated that his No. 18 Toyota was “a little tight,” before hitting pit road for four fresh tires, with an air pressure adjustment, and a full tank of fuel. He would start the Final Stage from the third position.
- The Safelite Tundra was in the third position when the field was slowed for the fourth time for a one-truck spin on lap 112. Hillman Jr. used the caution to put the final four fresh Goodyear tires on Burton’s truck.
- The second-generation driver restarted third when the race went back green with 13 laps remaining. A strong restart propelled the talented teenager into the second position just before a five-truck pile up red-flagged the field with 11 laps remaining.
- Once the carnage was cleared and the trucks started rolling again, the mist that had been in the air throughout the race intensified and the field was brought down pit road.
- After a 17-minute weather delay, the field rolled back on the track to finish the race under green-flag conditions. Burton, who was on the outside of the front row, was unable to get up to speed as fast as the inside lane and instead of racing his boss for the win, would have to settle for an eighth-place finish.
Harrison Burton, driver of the No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports:
Talk about starting in the outside lane on that restart.
“The outside is really bad here, especially when you have Kyle Busch to your inside. I thought I got an alright launch in my Safelite Tundra at first and then getting from third to fourth was really hard struggling with spinning the rear tires. I’m bummed out. I raced my butt off all night and it just didn’t get our way. I want to win one of these really damn bad, so that kind of hurts. We’ll be back and there’s a lot more races in the year. We got pretty good points today. I’m not really sure where we ended up after all that, but we had some good stages and had a pretty decent finish. We deserved better. The guys deserved better, but we’ll come back and get them next time.”
How would you assess this race?
“This race was good for us. I felt like as a team we built some momentum. I felt like the middle part of the race we were really strong and running the top and passing a lot of trucks. I feel like as a team, we passed quite a few trucks, so that’s a good thing. My pit crew did really good, so we have a lot of things to build off of going into Vegas and that’s good for us. It makes our job a little bit less stressful having a little bit of fun and knowing that we have speed. Just need to be in the right lane on the next one.”
Ultimate Tailgating 200 Recap:
- KBM owner-driver Kyle Busch collected the 52nd win of his NGOTS career and his 195th in NASCAR’s top three divisions. Johnny Sauter finished 0.932 seconds behind Busch in the runner-up spot. Grant Enfinger, Brett Moffitt and Ben Rhodes rounded out the top-five finishers.
- The race featured six cautions for a total of 30 laps. There were 10 lead changes among eight drivers. Burton led once for one lap.
How Burton’s KBM Teammates Fared:
- Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished 1st
- Todd Gilliland, driver of the No. 4 Toyota, finished 9th
NGOTS Championship Standings:
Burton moved up 12 positions to fifth in the NGOTS championship standings. After two races he finds himself 24 tallies behind points leader Grant Enfinger.
Burton will be back behind the wheel of the No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass Tundra when the Truck Series resumes action March 1 at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway. Live coverage of the Strat 200 begins Friday at 9 p.m. ET on FS1.