MOORESVILLE, N.C. (July 17, 2017) – On Wednesday night in a small town in Ohio, 16-year-old Harrison Burton will strap into his No. 51 Hunt Brothers Pizza Toyota Tundra to do something he’s never done before – race on a dirt track.
The Eldora Dirt Derby 150 at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, will mark Burton’s fourth start for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) for the 2017 season, but his first-career start racing on dirt. Eldora Speedway, also known as The Big E, is owned by former Monster Energy Cup Series champion Tony Stewart and Wednesday night will be the fifth-annual NCWTS event at the famed dirt track.
Kyle Busch Motorsports is no stranger to Victory Lane at Eldora and is the only NCWTS team with multiple victories at the track, winning the event in 2014 with Darrell Wallace Jr., and in 2015 with Christopher Bell. Burton has high hopes for his dirt debut and is excited to hit the track to see what he can do away from the asphalt tracks he is more comfortable with.
The rookie has had a solid season so far in his first three NCWTS races piloting the No. 51 Tundra. He made his season debut at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway where he started the race from the seventh position and after a late-race spin that put him near the rear of the field, he worked his way back to a solid 13th-place finish. His second race of the season came at Dover (Del.) International Speedway where Burton started the race 10th and raced his way to a 13th-place finish. In Burton’s latest event for KBM at Iowa Speedway, the Huntersville, N.C., native rolled off 14th and was en route to a top-five finish until an incident on the last lap resulted in a career-best 11th-place finish.
After Eldora, Burton has two more NCWTS events behind the wheel of the No. 51 Tundra in 2017 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway Aug. 16 and Martinsville (Va.) Speedway Oct. 28.
For Wednesday’s race under the lights, Burton will sport a new sponsor on the hood of his Tundra – Hunt Brothers Pizza. Hunt Brothers Pizza was started by four brothers from Indiana with a goal to build America’s No. 1 convenience store pizza brand. Hunt Brothers Pizza has been a proud sponsor of NASCAR drivers for 10 seasons and Burton is thrilled to have them on board for Eldora.
There’s a first time for everything and Burton will try to make Wednesday a night of firsts. He hopes that after his first event racing on dirt he’ll be able to park his No. 51 Hunt Brothers Pizza Tundra in Victory Lane for the first time. The 16-year-old is ready to get a little dirty, kick the dust up and have some fun in front of the fans at The Big E.
Harrison Burton, Driver of the No. 51 NCWTS Hunt Brothers Pizza Tundra:
Wednesday night will be your first-time racing on a dirt track, how have you prepared and are you excited?
“I am really excited for Eldora! Although I’ve never raced on dirt, I’m always excited to try something new. I have been preparing for this race the best I can. I’ve watched film of races from years past and spent a lot of time testing. It is definitely going to be something different for me, but I think it’s going to be a fun night of racing!”
Kevin “Bono” Manion, Crew Chief of the No. 51 NCWTS Hunt Brothers Pizza Tundra:
What are your thoughts on Eldora Speedway and leading Harrison in his first-career dirt race?
“Last year Eldora was a lot of fun. I think the fans really enjoy seeing the Truck Series race on dirt, it adds some excitement to the summer stretch. This is Harrison’s first race on dirt so we are just going to go out there and do our best and see how he does in practice and qualifying. Harrison is smart and a quick learner, so I am confident Wednesday night will be a fun one to watch.”
Harrison Burton’s No. 51 Hunt Brothers Pizza Tundra:
KBM-012: The No. 51 Hunt Brothers Pizza team will race KBM-012 for Wednesday’s Eldora Dirt Derby. This Tundra has one win in 2014 at Iowa Speedway driven by Erik Jones. Cody Coughlin also drove this Tundra in last year’s race at Eldora Speedway.
The Manion Report:
Kevin “Bono” Manion guided KBM’s No. 51 team to one win, one pole, four top-five and seven-top 10 finishes with four different drivers behind the wheel last year in his first season as a Truck Series crew chief. Prior to joining KBM, the Massachusetts native collected five victories in 10 seasons atop the pit box in NASCAR’s premier series, including two marquee wins with Jamie McMurray in 2010; the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400. Before graduating into NASCAR’s top division, he guided Martin Truex Jr., to back-to-back NASCAR XFINITY Series titles in 2004 and 2005. In addition to his five Monster Energy Cup Series victories, Manion boasts 15 XFINITY Series wins; 13 with Truex Jr., and two with Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Manion’s lone Truck Series race at Eldora resulted in a 19th-place finish with Cody Coughlin last season.