Harrison Burton picked up his second career Southern Super Series presented by Sunoco win Friday night at Pensacola, Florida’s Five Flags Speedway. The 15-year-old driver narrowly escaped a penalty with seven laps to go that would have sent him to the rear of the field.
Perennial heavyweight Bubba Pollard took control at the point of the 36-car field following a lap 22 restart. After a long green flag run, lapped traffic in the closing stages of the race allowed Burton to close in with less than 10 laps remaining.
As Pollard had his hands full trying to put Riley Herbst one lap down, Burton charged hard into turn three and made contact with Pollard. The end result saw Pollard spin in turn four with just seven laps remaining.
By rule, for his involvement, officials called for Burton to be sent to the tail until Bubba Pollard, in an ultimate show of sportsmanship, brought his car down pit road and explained to officials that he “lost it” on his own and that Burton’s contact had nothing to do with it.
Based on Pollard’s honesty, the initial ruling was overturned, and Burton drove away from Casey Roderick on the final restart, and into Five Flags Speedway victory lane for the first time in his career.
“This is the happiest I’ve ever been in my life,” Burton told fans after an enthusiastic high-five from his dad, Jeff Burton, in victory lane.
Burton, who struggled in the series’ previous Five Flags appearance, started seventh and worked his way up to second in the opening third of the race. After having his first pass for the lead negated by caution, the Huntersville, North Carolina native dropped back to fifth by the halfway point.
The extended green flag period that followed saw the second-generation driver methodically work his way back through the top five and back into contention late.
“It’s been so long since we won last, we’ve worked so hard on this,” stated Burton, who gave far more credit to his team than he took for himself. “Things are really starting to click for us. We’re getting better and better as the weeks go on. Even when we have a bad week it seems we still end up with top five and top 10s. I think this is just a show of our strength and I can’t wait to get another win.”
Jeff Choquette, who was making his first appearance in more than a year and a half rallied late for a strong runner-up finish. Choquette happily said that this wouldn’t be his last run back with the Southern Super Series or at Five Flags Speedway.
“I love coming here, this is an awesome race track,” Choquette said after his strong return run. “36 race cars, I don’t think you can say much more than that.”
Veteran Augie Grill rounded out the podium ahead of Raphael Lessard and Kyle Grissom in the top five.
For more information on the Southern Super Series, visit www.SouthernSuperSeries.com
Southern Super Series / Blizzard Series
Rubber & Specialties, Inc. 100
|19||99N||Wayne Niedecken Jr|
|25||01||Derek Scott Jr|
-51 Sports/Southern Super Series Press Release. Photo credit: Speed51.com