Harrison Burton picked up his first two wins in a Super Late Model back in February, but he still didn’t necessarily feel like he was a threat to win everywhere he went. He had speed, yes, but there was something missing. As he heads to Cordele, Georgia this weekend for the 100-lap Southern Super Series presented by Sunoco event, Burton now feels like they’ve found that missing piece.
A couple of weeks ago Burton and his team made a change. He had been working with legendary Late Model crew chief, Freddie Query. That’s no longer the case. The 14-year-old Burton now has Chris Wimmer atop the pit box, and it appears that bringing in the winning driver of the 2014 Slinger Nationals as his crew chief is paying off.
The team ran the SSS Gulf Coast doubleheader a couple of weeks ago and saw results instantly. Burton finished sixth at Five Flags Speedway (FL) and led 23 laps, but a bad restart late in the race put him out of contention. He went to Mobile International Speedway (AL) the next night and ran in the top three most of the race before being awarded the win in the tech shed. It took just two races for he and Wimmer to score a win.
“After our first race at Pensacola we were like ‘Okay we are definitely here to win now,'” Burton told Speed51.com powered by JEGS after the win at Mobile. “We knew we’d be better. Chris is a really great guy and he works really hard. He also has some really good ideas about setups.”
That continues to be proven true as Burton and Wimmer went to Southern National Motorsports Park (NC) a week later for a regional Late Model race and Burton finished third there after running in the top two for most of the evening.
The performances in those three races have Burton’s confidence soaring as he and his team head to the newly named Crisp Motorsports Park (formerly Watermelon Capital Speedway) in Cordele, Georgia this Saturday. While he hasn’t won there before, he’s now feeling like that could change on Saturday night.
“We’ve been growing closer as a team this whole year,” Burton said on Tuesday afternoon. “Last race at Southern National was only really our third race together. We’re doing really well and we’ve got a good chemistry going and hopefully we can build on that and get some more wins.
“We’ve run a few times down there and have moderate success, but not exactly what we’ve been looking for. We’re always hunting a win wherever we go. We haven’t won down there yet but hopefully that changes this weekend. We have a lot of confidence going into this week.”
Burton has scored two top-five finishes at Cordele. One in the Pro Late Model 125 at SpeedFest, and the other in the Super Late Model portion of SpeedFest. His highest finish was a third-place run that came in this year’s Pro Late Model portion of the event. It took that run at SpeedFest this year for Burton to start to think that he’s figuring out this tricky 3/8-mile D-shaped oval.
“Every race track has things that make it difficult,” said Burton. “At Cordele it seems to be a very line sensitive race. If you go off track it could be bad too. We saw that when someone went down into the creek a couple years ago back there.”
Now that he thinks he’s figured out how to run the place, all he has to do is figure out how to win there. Winning there is something that Burton wants really bad, especially because this weekend is the inaugural Southern Super Series race at Cordele.
“To win there in the first Southern Super Series race there would mean a lot,” Burton said. “Winning any Southern Super Series race means the whole world to Late Model guys. But winning the first race at this track against guys like Bubba Pollard would be a really big deal.”
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Northeast Editor -Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com