SLM: Burton Rebounds From Penalty To Win CARS Opener At Concord

Jacob Seelman Featured, Touring Late Models 0 Comments

Harrison Burton (right) celebrates his win in Saturday’s CARS Super Late Model Tour race at Concord Speedway. (Jacob Seelman photo)

MIDLAND, N.C. — Harrison Burton thought that when he came down a closed pit road early in Saturday’s super late model portion of the Circle Track Warehouse 200 at Concord Speedway, he had “thrown the race away.”

But with hefty motivation and a fast No. 12 DEX Imaging Toyota, Burton rallied from the tail of the field to pass race-long leader Matt Craig with 31 laps to go, leading the rest of the way en route to his first-career CARS Super Late Model Tour victory.

Burton admitted in victory lane that he “made a mistake,” however, he certainly made up for it in taking home the trophy and a $5,000 payday after the 100-lap marathon.

“I just messed up,” Burton explained in regards to the pit stop. “I thought I had thrown the race away at that point, but anything’s possible when you have a car as fast as this one was today and we proved that there’s no give up in this DEX Imaging Toyota team. To come back through the field shows what we’re made of and it makes me believe that we’ve got a lot more wins ahead of us as we keep pushing through this year.”

Craig took the lead from polesitter Steven Wallace on lap two after setting a track record earlier in the day — during the debut of knockout qualifying for the series — leading through the first caution of the day at lap 34, when Tate Fogleman spun in turn three as Burton was looking for the lead.

It was at that point that Burton ducked down pit road while the red flag was still out at the turn three access road, relegating him to the back of the lead lap while Craig held the point up front.

Methodically, Burton picked off cars one at a time and got the help of two quick cautions to make some tracks back towards the head of the field. By lap 37, he had moved back up to sixth and at the halfway benchmark, he was around Zane Smith for fourth.

It took him 15 more laps to dispatch both Christian Eckes and Wallace for third and second, respectively, before a power move exiting turn two gave him the point for good on lap 70.

A final caution with 20 to go, brought out when Dan Speeney spun in the dogleg, gave the field one more chance to challenge, but it was no contest as Burton ran away to a one-second advantage by the time the checkered flag waved.

Eckes ultimately got around Craig on the final restart and came home as the runner-up, but said after the race he had nothing for his Toyota and Fury Race Cars teammate.

“It’s a great day for Fury and Toyota, for sure, and I’m proud of Harrison for getting the win,” he admitted. “We just didn’t have quite enough on that last run, but it’s still a great day for our team. Working with these Toyota guys has been great so far and I’m excited for the future.”

Cole Rouse, in his debut for Kyle Busch Motorsports, finished third to give Toyota Racing Development a sweep of the podium.

Craig faded to fourth in the final rundown, followed by former series champion Cole Timm.

Lucas Jones, Brandon Setzer, Smith, Gus Dean and Tyler Ankrum completed the top 10.

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