Harrison Burton is having himself a career year and 2017 isn’t even three months old. Burton rallied from a self-inflicted pit road penalty to take the win in the 100-lap season opener for the CARS Racing Tour at Concord Speedway (NC).
For much of the early stages of the race it was Matt Craig, Steve Wallace and Harrison Burton running in single-file formation. Burton lurked just a couple of car lengths behind Wallace as he tried to save his tires for the closing laps of the 100-lap Super Late Model race, but Burton wasn’t able to stay conservative for too long.
New to CARS Tour competition in 2017 is the implementation of “live pit stops.” Each car has to come to pit road and pull off a “pull tab” from both A-posts and cut off a ribbon on each back corner of the spoiler. Pit road is closed until CARS Tour officials decide the field is ready to pit.
Burton came down pit road when pit road was closed on the first stop of the day. The second-generation driver said he thought he heard that pit road was open, but quickly realized that he had heard wrong.
“That was 100-percent on my shoulders,” Burton told Speed51.com powered by JEGS after the race. “I just misheard someone on the radio and came in. I couldn’t see the flag either, but it still comes down on my shoulders. It’s not acceptable to make a mistake like that, but thankfully we came back and got the trophy.”
After restarting in the rear of the field, Burton slowly and methodically worked his way back through the pack. With 30 laps remaining Burton worked by Matt Craig who had the dominant car up until that point.
From there it was all Burton out front. He had to deal with one more caution and restart, but he quickly pulled away from the rest of the field to take his fourth victory of 2017.
“One of the keys (this year) has been all of the hard work at the shop,” said Burton. “At Fury Race Cars we have a multi-car team now. We can lean on their information and they can lean on us and we’ve been able to learn a lot doing that. It’s been a lot of fun racing with my teammates this year so far too.”
One of Burton’s teammates, Christian Eckes, finished second, followed by Cole Rouse, Matt Craig and Austin Theriault.
The next CARS Tour race will be on Saturday, March 25th at Virginia’s Dominion Raceway. That race will be a double-header for the Super Late Models and will serve as a lock-in event for the U.S. Short Track Nationals at Bristol Motor Speedway (TN) in May.
For an on-demand replay of Saturday’s Trackside Now coverage presented by McCallister Precision Marketing, click here.
Speed51.com will have more from Saturday’s Super Late Model event, including interviews with all of the major players still to come on the Speed51 Network so stay tuned for that.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com
CARS Tour Super Late Model 100
Concord Speedway, Concord, North Carolina