Safelite Tundra Comes Home 31st at Eldora After Getting Caught Up in 14-Truck Accident
Date: Aug. 1, 2019
Event: Eldora Dirt Derby (Race 15 of 23)
Series: NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series
Location: Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio (half-mile dirt oval)
Format: Three Stages; 40 laps/50 laps/60 laps
Start/Finish: 11th/31st (Running, completed 127 of 150 laps)
Winner: Stewart Friesen of Halmar Friesen Racing (Chevrolet)
Harrison Burton entered Thursday night’s Eldora Dirt Derby at Eldora Speedway 13 points behind the cutoff line for the final playoff spot in the NASCAR Gander Trucks Series Playoffs with two regular season races remaining, but left Eldora in a must-win situation heading into next week’s regular season finale at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. After getting caught up in the middle of a 14-truck melee halfway through Stage Two, the Safelite Tundra spent 23 laps on pit road getting major damage repair and would finish the race in the 31st position.
Stewart Friesen captured a playoff spot when he became the sixth Gander Trucks Series regular to win in the regular season and playoff contender Matt Crafton distanced himself from Burton in points by finishing in the top 10 of all three stages.
Stage One Recap:
- Burton earned the 11th starting position by finishing third in Qualifying Race 1. When the first caution occurred on lap 14, he had fallen back to the 13th position.
- The 18-year-old driver would gain one position in the closing laps of Stage One to finish 12th.
- He communicated to crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. that the Safelite Tundra was “pretty tight, but the track seems to be getting slicker.”
Stage Two Recap:
- With five trucks ahead of Burton hitting pit road between stages, he would line up seventh when Stage Two went green.
- On lap 56 while running inside the top 10, Burton spun off the exit of Turn 2 and brought out the fourth caution of the race. He didn’t make contact with anything and was able to get the path of the Safelite Tundra going in the right direction in time to remain on the lead lap.
- The second-generation driver would restart 22nd on the ensuing restart on lap 61, but four laps later would get caught up in a 14-truck accident that caused major damage to the front end of his No. 18 Toyota.
- Burton’s crew would spend the next 23 laps on pit road repairing the Safelite Tundra in an effort to get their young back on track in hopes that more trucks would wreck allowing the team to improve their finish.
- The No. 18 returned to the track just before the completion of Stage 2 scored 23 laps down in the 32nd spot.
Final Stage Recap:
- Between stages, Burton brought hit Toyota back down pit road for four fresh tires and a full load of fuel.
- Burton was able to drive around at the back of the field for the remainder of the race and with one other competitor pulling off just before the end of Stage 2, he gained one position and ended the event in the 31st spot.
Harrison Burton, driver of the No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports:
Rough Night. Talk about what happened to get all the damage.
“I’m not sure what happened. There was a wreck in front of me and no one could stop. I piled into it and then someone piled in behind me. It happens, so we will move on. (Stewart) Friesen won the race anyway, who was the closest driver to us in points, so now we just have to go to Michigan and win and lock ourselves in. This is the moments that you live for as a racecar driver – when your backs against the wall and you have to make something happen. We’re going to work our butts off for Michigan and hopefully get us a win.”
Eldora Dirt Derby Recap:
- Friesen picked up his first career NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series victory. Sheldon Creed finished 0.728 seconds behind Friesen in the runner-up spot. Grant Enfinger came home third, Mike Marlar was fourth and KBM driver Todd Gilliland rounded out the top-five finishers.
- The race featured 12 cautions for a total of 68 laps. There was one lead change among two drivers.
How Burton’s KBM Teammates Fared:
- Todd Gilliland, driver of the No. 4 Toyota, finished fifth
- Christian Eckes, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished sixth
Gander Trucks Championship Standings:
Burton fell to the sixth spot in the Gander Trucks driver point standings. After 15 races he finds himself 116 tallies behind points leader Grant Enfinger and 64 points behind Matt Crafton for the eighth and final playoff spot, leaving him in a must-win situation next week at Michigan.
Burton will be behind the wheel of the No. 18 Fields/Sports Force Parks Tundra when the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series resumes action Aug. 10 at Michigan. Live coverage of the Corrigan Oil 200 begins Saturday at 1 p.m. ET on FS1.