Harrison Burton is trying to follow in the footsteps of his famous father, Jeff Burton, whom he calls a NASCAR “superhero.”
Jeff Burton won 21 NASCAR Cup Series races during a 20-year career from 1994-2014. Jeff Burton won 17 races and had four top 5 points finishes for Roush Fenway Racing before rounding out his career at Richard Childress Racing, where he won four times. He is now a TV commentator for NBC’s NASCAR coverage.
Harrison Burton, 20, is driving in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for Joe Gibbs Racing. He won four races last year and finished eighth in the final standings.
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Harrison Burton hopes to work his way up to the NASCAR Cup Series, just like his father did 26 years ago.
“I always thought that my dad was a superhero,” Harrison Burton said. “My dad was a race car driver and that was the coolest thing in the world for me to look at my dad and be proud of him and be proud of how hard he works to be there. Now to see him and how he does his career, the tail end of his career, where I was able to remember most of it and remember how hard he had to work, it’s pretty surreal to go back and have a chance to win races and race at these places that my dad went to.”
Harrison Burton part of Burton racing family
Harrison Burton is part of a family that has made its mark in NASCAR. His uncle, Ward Burton, won five NASCAR Cup Series races, including the 2002 Daytona 500. Ward’s son and Harrison’s cousin, Jeb, also races in the Xfinity Series. Both Jeff and Ward worked their way up through the Xfinity Series, just like Harrison and Jeb are doing now.
Harrison, who sees his father often at the race track, reflected on his successful career.
“It’s pretty rare that you get to slow down and reflect on it,” Harrison Burton said. “You are always so busy racing and going like crazy, but it’s pretty awesome. I’m proud of my dad and really trying to follow in his footsteps and be even half the man that he was.”
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Harrison Burton finished third in the season-opening Xfinity Series race at Daytona and is now preparing for the second race of the season on the Daytona Road Course.
Harrison Burton has been preparing for the NASCAR road races by racing TransAm cars at Circuit of The Americas and on other road courses around the country. He even went go-kart racing with his dad.
“That was good,” Harrison Burton said. “My dad and I both got go-karts. We are both ripping around road courses in go-karts all the time. I’m trying to get better and he’s trying to stay in shape and have fun. I’m trying to be fast, so it’s a good combination of father-son rivalry. We have a good time with that.”
Harrison Burton met with the media Tuesday morning on the 20-year anniversary of the death of Dale Earnhardt. He had his own special Earnhardt story to share.
When Jeff Burton was at the peak of his career, he wanted to buy a boat, but his wife, Kim, was against the idea. Until Earnhardt, the seven-time Cup champion, intervened.
Shortly before his death in the 2001 Daytona 500, Earnhardt approached Kim Burton and told her to let Jeff buy the boat.
“Dale Sr. came up to my mom and hugged my mom, and it was probably within a few months of when he passed away, and he was telling her to go and live life and go get this boat,” Harrison Burton said. “Shortly after Dale passed away, they got this boat and made some memories on that thing before they sold it.”
Harrison Burton said his dad has shared several stories about the late Earnhardt.
“He tells me stories about Dale a lot,” he said. “He tells me stories about a lot of things because I’m interested in it, but I think that’s the coolest one. No one knew what would happen, but he was telling my parents to go enjoy life, live life, and then the unthinkable happened. But they made a decision based on that moment.”