Not even a cut tire with eight laps left in the scheduled distance of Sunday’s Xfinity race could keep Harrison Burton from establishing a series record.
Thanks to two overtime restarts, the driver bounced back to finish eighth Sunday, a day after he won the first part of the series’ weekend doubleheader at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
With Sunday’s finish, Burton goes into this weekend’s race at Talladega (5:30 p.m. ET Saturday on FS1) with a top-10 finish in each of the first 10 races of the Xfinity season. That breaks the previous rookie record of nine races with top 10s established in 2005 by Carl Edwards.
“As a company I think we made some strides,” Burton said after the race. “Not a finish my team deserves, but that happens. You are getting all you can the last few laps – right against the fence – and sometimes you just overstep. Once I got to the wall, I couldn’t get off of it, and that’s what caused the right rear to blow.”
Burton’s win Saturday in Miami after only leading the final two laps gives him two wins on the season. He also has a series-leading seven top fives.
Despite those numbers, there’s still areas where Burton’s No. 20 team need to improve, namely stage finishes. Though he can finish up front, he has yet to claim a stage win.
Eight other drivers have at least one stage win, as Noah Gragson leads with five stage wins.
“I think we want a little more raw speed,” Burton said. “We want to win more stages, things like that. … Got to find a way to get those playoff points, they are really important come later in the year. We saw last year with (Tyler) Reddick, (Cole) Custer and (Christopher) Bell, all of those guys were pretty much locked in though the first round of the playoffs, and that’s because they the (had) stage points and the points from winning.
“We’ve got to get a little bit more dominate, a little bit more aggressive early in the race, and somehow be a little faster. That’s my main goal now – to fire off faster and try to be aggressive from the start and hopefully, get more dominate.”
Through 10 races Burton is third in points behind Gragson and Chase Briscoe. He trails Briscoe by 27 points and Gragson by 45 points.
As far as stage points go, Burton has earned 58 through 10 races. That trails Gragson (124 stage points), Austin Cindric (118) and Briscoe (106), even though Cindric has failed to win a race so far this year and is fourth in the overall standings.