Once a Super Late Model driver, always a Super Late Model driver— at least that’s the case for rising NASCAR wheelman Harrison Burton.
Despite running a full schedule in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series this year, Burton is heading back to his roots this weekend at Lucas Oil Raceway (IN) for the inaugural Speed51 Super Select.
“I’m pumped,” Burton said in an interview during Speed51’s “The Morning Bullring”. “I love racing Late Models, that’s kind of how I cut my teeth and came up in short track racing. It taught me a lot of lessons.”
Those lessons, which ultimately led to his ride in the Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundra, will come full circle when Burton climbs back into his black and red No. 12 Super Late Model on Saturday.
The 18-year old admits that even with top-tier experience under his belt, competing against the crème de la crème of Super Late Model drivers from across the country in the Super Select will be anything but easy.
“I’ll be honest, those guys are hard to beat,” Burton said. “They race Late Models every week. I think that helps you as a driver, when you get into a rhythm in a car or truck. Whatever it may be, the more races you run the better you’re going to be at it.”
Burton has only competed in two Super Late Model races this season; he finished third at SpeedFest in Cordele, GA and runner-up in South Alabama Speedway’s Rattler 250. A prior win in the latter event is what qualified Burton as a Super Select invitee last year.
“My first thoughts were I’m ready, let’s go,” Burton recalled after receiving his invitation last year. “We actually got to test a little bit last year for it and then I got really sick, missed a race in the Truck series and everything. I was excited [to learn] that I was going to be able to come back and race there and make it happen this year.”
Lucky for Burton, Mother Nature didn’t cooperate with officials at Lucas Oil Raceway in 2018 and the event was postponed to the following year. The Super Late Model All-Star race, with its unique 75-lap format, will be uncharted territory for Burton and all the other teams set to compete in Indianapolis.
But the performance of other teams are the least of Burton’s concerns. When it comes down to it, the only thing Burton is concentrating on this weekend is himself.
“I think you have to go into a race like this and focus on yourself more than anything,” Burton told Speed51.com. “There’s a lot of good guys that are coming, but it’s just about focusing on yourself, doing a good job and controlling what you can control. It’s a team sport. Just focus on your job and make it happen.”
How much self-control Burton will have coming out of turn four to meet the checkered flag and a $10,000 victory, only time will tell, but he’s already made one thing clear coming into this no-holds-barred showdown: rubbin’ is racin’.
“It’s a question where you say one thing and you might do another thing,” Burton said. “I’ve noticed that some of the guys that will tell you flat out they’re going to move you out of the way and wreck you, they never do and then the guys that don’t say anything are the dangerous guys. I have my rules as to how I want to race people, I don’t think I’ll ever intentionally wreck someone to win.
“But I will definitely use the bumper. It’s part of our sport.”
Those heading to Lucas Oil Raceway on September 7 can get all they need to know about the Speed51 Super Select by visiting the Super Select Central page here on Speed51.com. There you can get the latest in updated entries, the event schedule, race procedures, the latest news, video, photos and more. Click here to visit.
While there is no substitute for enjoying Indy at its finest, short track fans from all across the globe can watch the Speed51 Super Select live on the pay-per-view broadcast for just $19.99, click here to order.
-Story by: Melissa Strahley, Speed51 Gulf Coast Editor
-Photo credit: Speed51.com