KBM Driver Closes Gap on Final Playoff Spot with Two Regular-Season Races Remaining
Date: July 27, 2019
Event: Gander RV 150 (Race 14 of 23)
Series: NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series
Location: Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. (2.5-mile tri-oval)
Format: Three Stages; 15 laps/15 laps/30 laps
Start/Finish: 6th/3rd (Running, completed 60 of 60 laps)
Winner: Ross Chastain of Niece Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Harrison Burton put together another solid outing in Saturday’s Gander RV 150 at Pocono Raceway, leading six laps, winning Stage Two and ending the day by equaling a career-best third-place finish. It was the sixth time across 29 career starts and the fourth time this season that the 18-year-old driver came home with a third-place finish and the fifth top-five finish over his last six Gander Trucks series starts.
Burton was able to maintain fifth in the driver point standings and with playoff contender Stewart Friesen wrecking on the first lap and finishing last, the driver of the No. 18 Toyota was able to move to within 13 points of Friesen for the eighth and final playoff spot with just two races remaining.
Stage One Recap:
- Burton started the 60-lap event from the sixth spot and remained there with seven laps remaining in the opening stage. He was able to move into the top five with six laps remaining and then before the segment was over maneuvered his way up to third.
- He communicated to crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. that the Morton Buildings Tundra was “pretty good, just a little bit snug.”
Stage Two Recap:
- With Friesen wrecking early in the race, the No. 18 team’s strategy changed from virtually a must-win situation to being able to still possibly make the playoffs on points. With points back in play, Hillman Jr. kept his young driver on the track between stages in an effort to gain stage points in Stage Two.
- Stage Two went green on lap 19, and would be just 11 laps. Burton was scored in the third position for the start of the stage and quickly moved up to the second spot.
- With three laps remaining in the stage, the leader, Ross Chastain made his way down pit road to set up track position for the Final Stage. Hillman Jr. elected to keep Burton on the track and he would go on to win Stage Two.
Final Stage Recap:
- Burton brought the Morton Buildings Tundra to pit road between stages for four fresh tires, a full tank of fuel and a wedge adjustment.
- With Chastain and several drivers electing to pit before the end of Stage Two, the No. 18 Toyota was scored in the ninth position when the Final Stage went green on lap 34.
- The talented teenager began to methodically march forward with only 26 laps remaining in the event. He gained one spot by the time the field came back to the stripe and two laps later was scored in the seventh spot. On lap 38 he moved up to sixth, rejoined the top five on lap 42 and moved up to fourth with 15 laps remaining.
- Burton was able to make his way around his KBM teammate, Christian Eckes, with five laps remaining, but with the Final Stage running caution free came up short of running down the top-two trucks.
Harrison Burton, driver of the No. 18 Morton Buildings Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports:
Solid day today, Harrison. Talk about your finish.
“We had a really good Morton Buildings Tundra. We were really, really fast. It was fun. We had to charge through the field there. We started ninth on the last restart and just had to go. I just ran out of time there in the end. It’s frustrating. There are guys that had good strategy. We were cutting it close on fuel. I knew they were riding around there a little bit. I thought maybe I could get to them, so I was driving as hard as I could there at the end, but it just didn’t come our way.”
Gander RV 150 Recap:
- Ross Chastain picked up his third career NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series victory. Tyler Ankrum finished 1.007 seconds behind Chastain in the runner-up spot. Burton came home third, his KBM teammate Christian Eckes was fourth and Brett Moffitt rounded out the top-five finishers.
- The race featured four cautions for a total of 12 laps. There were three lead changes among two drivers. Burton led once for six laps.
How Burton’s KBM Teammates Fared:
- Christian Eckes, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished fourth
- Todd Gilliland, driver of the No. 4 Toyota, finished 7th
Gander Trucks Championship Standings:
Burton maintained the fifth spot in the Gander Trucks driver point standings. After 14 races he finds himself 82 tallies behind points leader Grant Enfinger. He currently sits ninth on the playoff grid, 13 points behind Stewart Friesen for the eighth and final spot in the playoffs with two regular season races remaining.
Burton will be back behind the wheel of the No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass Tundra when the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series resumes action Aug. 1 at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. Live coverage of the Eldora Dirt Derby begins Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on FS1.