The agenda for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East was practice and qualifying at Bristol Motor Speedway (TN) Friday in advance of Saturday’s PittLite 125. By day’s end it was Harrison Burton who thundered the loudest in Thunder Valley, putting down the fastest lap in the first practice session. He then came back a short time later to win his first career pole in the K&N Pro Series in his first ever race at Bristol.
“It’s awesome, it’s a brand new race track for me, the first time I’ve been on it was today,” Burton told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “It was really cool to come out here and lead the first practice and then have a good race run the next practice, and then sit on the pole. We set ourselves up really nicely for the race and I’m excited to see what tomorrow holds.”
This weekend will be just the sixth start for Burton in a K&N Pro Series car. In the first three races of 2016 he as a high finish of seventh at Mobile International Speedway (AL) and finished two laps down last time out at Greenville Pickens Speedway (SC). Burton felt his fast Friday was a big morale moment for himself and the HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks team.
“It’s a huge confidence booster for all our guys because we know what we are capable of and we haven’t been running at that in past races, especially Greenville,” he said. “We’re looking to come back strong. First thing I said when I got out of the car is ‘that’s the way to come back from a tough week’. We come out and we keep digging.”
When asked if he could back up the speed with his first K&N East win, he seemed pretty positive about his chances.
“I sure hope so, there’s a lot of tough competitors out here, but I’m really confident in our car and our guys that they’ve put a good piece under me and I’m just excited to continue a good run.”
Qualifying was done in a group format, with three groups of ten cars taking laps in five minute periods, with a driver’s fast lap counting towards qualifying. Dominique Van Wieringen was the fastest of the second group, with the lap being good for second overall. Kyle Benjamin, Chad Finchum, and Dillon Bassett rounded out the top five overall.
The day was not smooth sailing at all for Mobile winner Tyler Dippel. After going to a backup car for qualifying due to hitting the wall in first practice with his primary car, Dippel spun during his qualifying run and was hit by Jesse Little. Dippel will be running Harrison Burton’s backup car on Saturday while Jesse Little does not have a backup car available and is done for the weekend.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East is scheduled to roll off at 4:30pm ET on Saturday.
Speed51.com will power the Race Central Live coverage on NASCAR Home Tracks beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET.
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com State Editor (CT, MA, LI) – Twitter: @Connor51CT