Toyota Racing – Harrison Burton
NASCAR Xfinity Series Quotes
ATLANTA (June 4, 2020) – Joe Gibbs Racing driver Harrison Burton was made available to media via videoconference prior to the EchoPark 250 this Saturday:
HARRISON BURTON, No. 20 DEX/Hunt Brother’s Pizza Toyota Supra, Joe Gibbs Racing
What are your expectations for Atlanta?
“My biggest expectation is to just go out and perform like we always do. I think there is an added bit of pressure with the Dash 4 Cash and things like that are going on that are super exciting. I think my expectations of my race team are at the highest level in any given situation, and for me as well. It starts with the driver and it starts with the crew chief; and then we can all work together and have the right mindset for this race. There’s obviously a little race in the race with the Dash 4 Cash, which is exciting, but the main goal is to win the race and do as well as we can no matter what.”
Do you think we are to the point of the season where we have a clear picture on who the championship players are going to be?
“I think yes and no. There’s always comers and goers in a season. You see in Cup, Xfinity and Trucks, guys that run really good early, and sometimes they kind of get complacent on that. They feel over secure in the fact that we are going to go out and perform well every weekend because we did good this weekend and that doesn’t always mean that. You can go to California for example in our case, and we can win, and then we can go to the next weekend and run 11th or 12th or 14th or 15th. If we don’t our job every single weekend – that’s what is so hard about racing. It’s always evolving. Always changing. I think there’s definitely – you have an idea of the guys to beat. There’s always going to be some sort of relevant change in power rankings and things like that, just like every other sport.”
How do you feel about the start to your season?
“That’s obviously a great thing to have a win to kind of lean back on. There are races where I felt like I could have done a better job. There are always things to work on, which is great. That’s something that’s really great about my team. We are really honest with each other – with everyone at JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing). It’s ‘hey, the car needs help here, but here is what I could done too. Then you kind of formulate what your plan of attack is for the next week to kind of build on that. So yeah, it’s obviously a good start to the season. You want to win every single weekend, and that’s not always completely possible. You try your hardest and try to make it work the best you can. Fortunately, we have a win to kind of lean back on and hopefully, we can get some more.”
You mentioned after California that you thought you and your teammates (Riley Herbst and Brandon Jones) could be the next big three in the Xfinity Series. How close are the three of you?
“We are not far away. I think Riley has been fast very often and has had situations where he hasn’t finished where he has run or you go to Brandon. He had a chance to win in California – when I got a win. He goes and beats Kyle Busch in Phoenix. Things like that are team is doing well. I think we are missing just that little bit of consistency where ‘hey, all three of us are in the top five every week.’ That’s obviously the goal that’s way up here – to have three cars in the top five every weekend, but that is what the big three was last year. Those guys were up there every single week. They were always fast. That’s what I know we are capable of. Everyone here has the ability to do that, and I think that’s what our goals are – is to race each other for the win every weekend hopefully, not be mad at each other in the Monday morning meetings afterwards.”
With the Dash 4 Cash, what is the incentive of the extra $100,000?
“I think that it does incentivize that. You saw in years past that guys have been really aggressive to win the Dash 4 Cash. It puts on great racing. It reminds me a lot of the old Cup races that were worth a million dollars to win. That always seemed like it put more pressure on everything. It was a Playoff like atmosphere. That’s good. It’s a good little test for us. The guys that are in the Dash 4 Cash, along with us, are guys that you are going to have to beat to win a championship. This is a tiny little moment – almost like a Playoff race. The incentive for me is more competitive than it is monetary. There is obviously a lot of things that you can do with that money with putting it back into the team, with your crew members, and things with charities and things like that, which are all things that I’ve thought about. Things that I’m really excited that if I do get the opportunity to win the Dash 4 Cash, I think there’s a lot of good things you can do with that money to help people out in tough times. That’s exciting right? That’s a very cool thing to add on to the list, but the biggest thing that fires me up is competition. No matter what. That competition of these really fast race cars that I’m going to have to beat with this prize money on the line. It’s time to go get it. That’s really cool. What you do with that money afterwards is kind of something you figure out once you win it because you never want to focus on that. You just need to focus on doing your job and doing the best of your ability, as good as you can.”
I’m curious what the events of the past week have impacted you.
“It’s been interesting. I think everyone has taken a look at themselves and said ‘How can I be better?’ and help this situation. I’ve seen a lot of people do a lot of great things in the NASCAR community. I think the peaceful protests are great way to have people’s voices be heard and things like that. But what is really exciting also – along with that – is sports have a way of bringing people together. People rooting for a driver together or working on a team together or things like that bring people together from all different places in the world which is amazing. I think that when you have the opportunity to be that sport that it’s kind of on us to help people in need – and you can help bring people together – that is an amazing opportunity. I’m excited for that as well. I think there’s a lot of great things that are going on. People that are reflecting personally on what they could do to be better, and I know there has been a lot of conversations amongst a lot of people about how can we make a positive change from this tragedy.”
Are you thinking about anything that you can do? Where are you in that process?
“I think there’s things that everyone can do. It’s a tough situation to look at. It’s a tough thing for me as a young kid trying to figure things out in the NASCAR world and to be honest, I’ve always been so focused on racing. That’s been my whole life. The more we get into this year, it seems like the more I’m focusing on other things, focusing on the world as a whole. You realize that racing isn’t the whole world. You get so caught up in, ‘I got to win Atlanta next week. I got to go run as good as I can because this is my life, this what I’ve worked for, this is what I love to do.’ Which is all true, but there’s also the real world going on and so many issues out there as well that people are going through. I think there’s a lot of people that are looking introspectively and trying to see what they can do to help.”
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