Last year’s Rattler 250 featured a late-race battle for the win between a rising young star and a Super Late Model veteran. Harrison Burton swapped paint with Jeff Choquette and passed the veteran on the final lap on his way to victory lane. One year later, the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series rookie will use his off-weekend from the Trucks to return to South Alabama Speedway on March 17 with hopes of a second date with the Alabama rattlesnake.
Burton picked up perhaps the biggest win of his racing career to this point when he went to victory lane at Daytona International Speedway in the ARCA Menards Series season opener in February. He has followed it up with a top five and two top 10s in the Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports.
“It’s been fun so far, we’ve had some fun races,” Burton told Speed51.com. “We ran pretty good at Cordele and won Daytona. My first time racing at Daytona was a lot of fun. I’ve been busy racing the trucks as well and had some good runs as well in that. It’s been a fun season so far. I’ve learned a lot. I’m trying to work to be better the whole time.”
Burton’s second Late Model start of 2019 will come in the Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway, the season opener for the Southern Super Series. He is excited to go and looks forward to a potential second meeting with the rattlesnake in victory lane.
“I’m excited to go into the race and try to defend that win,” he stated. “I think the harder you try to focus on that, the harder it becomes to do it. You got to treat it like a different race and stay committed and try to work hard to get your car good.”
Burton is looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of a Super Late Model. The Huntersville, North Carolina native will be going back to where his rise to NASCAR started. While he is excited for the Rattler 250, he says it is one of the toughest races he will compete in this year.
“It’s going to be kind of like going back to my roots. I grew up racing Late Models and that’s where I cut my teeth,” Burton began. “I credit it for getting me to where I am and to race those guys every week that are so good in Late Model racing made me the driver that I am. It’ll be fun but it’ll also definitely be one of the hardest races of the year. It’s a challenge to win this Late Model race for sure.”
After conquering the Rattler 250 one year ago, Burton says his biggest challenge in his attempt to repeat this year will be to not fall into a trap that drivers can easily fall into going back to a race as the defending winner.
“We just got to go into it with an open mind as far as setups go. Being able to work and get better and not settle for what we had last year,” he said. “I think sometimes you win a race and you get caught in that trap of knowing your car was good enough to win last year so it’ll be good enough to win this year. Everyone’s been working to get their cars better and improve their package to come back and beat you the next time. We can’t get caught in that trap, we have to stay working hard and to keep moving the ball forward, and I think we’ll have a shot to win.”
Race fans unable to make it out to South Alabama Speedway on March 16-17 will be able to watch a live pay-per-view broadcast on Speed51.com. Live video tickets for the event can be purchased today by clicking here.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN & MI)
-Photo credit: Speed51.com