Harrison Burton will have many voices in his ear this season.
Competing in four series with three teams in more than 30 races across NASCAR, ARCA and Super Late Models, a trio of crew chiefs will be guiding Burton as he attempts to rebound from a disappointing 2016 season.
It might seem overwhelming and perhaps discombobulating to have so many feedback echoes as the 16-year-old makes the leap into a partial schedule in the Camping World Truck Series.
But the son of NBC Sports analyst Jeff Burton takes the opposite tack.
“It’s going to be an advantage,” Burton told NBC Sports. “I get to learn from so many different people. As a young driver, it’s good to have a broad base that you can get tons of knowledge from, that’s not even from my house.
“My dad obviously knows a lot about racing, and he’s been doing it for many years, but nobody knows everything, so it’s always good to have second opinions. In this case, I have third and fourth opinions, which is really good. I think the more knowledge I can soak up the better.”
After announcing a six-race schedule with Kyle Busch Motorsports last month, Burton revealed Wednesday he also will compete for a championship in the NASCAR K&N East Series while running selected ARCA and Late Model races. He will drive for MDM Motorsports in ARCA/K&N and for Fury Racing in SLM.
Burton will be carrying six sponsors (Dex Imaging, Toyota, Morton Buildings, Hunt Brothers Pizza, Ollie’s Bargain Outlet and Rheem) across the series, which he will be balancing while carrying a full course load as a high school sophomore slated to graduate in 2019.
He concedes the racing career is a difficult balancing act with being a teenager. He attended a high school basketball game Tuesday night to be in the social routine and routinely stays two to three hours after school to make up for the many Fridays he will miss during the season.
“It’s really, really tough to balance it,” he said. “It’s hard to differentiate which is more important, right? Because I want to be racing all the time. And my parents, which they’re probably right, want me to be in school and be focused on that as well. So it’s a hard balance for me, but I’m starting to figure it out as the years go on.”
Burton also will be learning on the job in the truck series this year, though he has experience at some tracks he will race (Iowa Speedway, Martinsville Speedway, Dover International Speedway). He is optimistic about taking a KBM truck to victory lane as a rookie and plans to compete for a championship in K&N.
“My expectations are the sky’s the limit, every aspect that I’m racing in, I have a great team around me,” he said. “We had a lot of misfortune and bad luck out of our hands (in 2016), and I also made some mistakes. To look back at last year, it was probably one of the toughest years of my racing career, if not the toughest year.
“It seemed like every week something would go wrong. I got to know how much I wanted to do well in this sport. I think we’re going to be really competitive this year in everything I race in. I’m not nervous about saying that. I’m really confident in my guys and myself.”
The low point of last season was the final race. Burton had a parts failure while contending for a victory in the prestigious Snowball Derby, which has catapulted other prospects such as Erik Jones to high-profile opportunities.
“That was definitely hard on me,” he said. “I’m motivated to get back out there and prove what I can do. I’m very results driven. I want to be bringing home trophies. Last year was really tough. I’m ready to turn that around.”