Harrison Burton wheels his No. 21 Ford Mustang around Pocono Raceway. (Dennis Bicksler Photo)

Burton & Wood Brothers ‘Putting The Pieces Together’

LONG POND, Pa. — As tempers boiled over in more ways than one Sunday afternoon at Pocono Raceway, one driver who walked out of the garage area with a smile was Harrison Burton.

After starting 26th in the 160-lap HighPoint.com 400, a few adjustments and crafty pit strategy launched the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford to eighth at the checkered flag.

It was the second-year driver’s second top-10 finish of the season with his last one coming at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway in May (sixth).

“It’s good for us. I feel like it was a good team, good finish there,” Burton said. “We had really good strategy, the car was bad in the beginning of the race and then just methodically got it better and better. 

2023 Pocono Cup Race
Harrison Burton prior to hopping in his race car at Pocono Raceway. (Dennis Bicksler Photo)

“By the last few runs, (I) felt pretty happy about where we were. Still not as fast as the leaders but closer. Felt a little bit better about the balance of the car, or at least race ability. 

“You get some restarts like that, you might not have the most lap time, but if you’re balanced and somewhat close, you can kind of work.”

A key factor in Burton’s solid run was veteran crew chief Brian Wilson on top of the No. 21’s pit box.

With Burton’s Ford handling to his liking, it allowed the team to stay out longer than most before pitting shortly before a caution flag with 18 laps to go. 

Burton restarted 10th with 13 laps to go. A handful of cautions late and good launches on restarts propelled Burton to eighth by race’s end. 

While locking himself into the NASCAR Playoffs is all but out of the picture (29th in points) unless he wins one of the final five regular season races, Sunday’s race in Pocono was a major confidence booster for the 22-year-old. 

“We’ve had good runs before, and it’s really important to keep this momentum,” Burton said. “I mean, Darlington, actually had a legit chance to win, I feel like at Darlington. Next race out, didn’t run very good. So it’s time for us to kind of string some good races together like this. 

“We know we can do it, we can do it once, we can do it again. It’s just all about putting the pieces together, and that’s what this sport is, every little detail. There are a lot of things that we can improve, especially in the beginning of our race today that could’ve helped us maybe get a better finish.

“But still, happy with today, happy with our guys, guys on pit road did a good job. The last stop as well. So, good run for us, and we’ll keep digging.”