ROOKIE BURTON DRIVES TO TOP-FIVE FINISH AT RICHMOND
Rookie of the Year leader Harrison Burton drives to 12th top-five run of the year
RICHMOND, Virginia (September 12, 2020) – Harrison Burton (fourth) earned a top-five finish to lead Toyota in the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 250 at Richmond Raceway on Saturday afternoon. Brandon Jones (eighth) joined Burton in the top-10, while Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Riley Herbst clinched his spot in the Playoffs.
Toyota Racing Post-Race Recap
NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS)
Race 25 of 33 – 187.5 miles, 250 laps
TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS
1st, Justin Allgaier*
2nd, Jeb Burton*
3rd, Ross Chastain*
4th, HARRISON BURTON
5th, Noah Gragson*
8th, BRANDON JONES
21st, MASON MASSEY
22nd, STEPHEN LEICHT
28th, CHAD FINCHUM
34th, RILEY HERBST
36th, TIMMY HILL
HARRISON BURTON, No. 20 DEX Imaging Toyota Supra, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 4th
What did the team do to your Supra from last night’s race to today’s race to improve?
“We went the convenience store and we bought the kitchen sink and threw it at the car. We changed everything – whole package change. That always makes me nervous. You don’t have practice, you don’t have a chance to feel out what’s going to work or not. We knew that we had to do something different because last night was embarrassing and really, honestly horrible. I was really happy with today. We ran top-five pretty much all day and I was so proud of that. That’s such a big improvement. Even after finishing fifth in the first stage, I was pumped up, which I’m normally bummed about finishing fifth in the first stage. Just the way our weekend has been so far and then to turn it around overnight with those guys burning the midnight oil and putting in the work and me looking at data at night and trying to relate to see what we needed to do for today, to get that result out of it is a huge confidence booster and I think that’s what builds championship teams.”
Kyle Busch mentioned talking with all of you last night about some of what he experienced in his Xfinity car in last night’s race. Was any of that beneficial to help with your performance today?
“Kyle (Busch) stayed after the race for about 30 minutes and talked to me on pit road. Kind of verified what I was feeling and was helping me find ways and helping our team find ways to kind of go a direction conceptually to go with it. Kyle definitely helped us out. It was a good deal for us to get his notes and what he thought and what they did throughout the race. I think we got better today partially because of that and partially because of or in large part because of the guys on my team just put in the midnight hours and worked really hard last night. Stayed up until about 12:30 or one o’clock last night doing data on my computer as well. Just proud of everyone because it was a tough race last night. It was embarrassing honestly. That was a good turnaround and that’s what makes for really great teams is when you find a way. Normally in racing you don’t turn things around that quickly. You don’t come in the next day with a new idea and say, ‘Hey, this might work,’ and try it and it works. That was the first time I’ve ever had that happen. That’s a testament to this team.”
How are you feeling with one race before Playoffs start?
“I think we’re really confident. We’ve had the speed recently, other than this weekend, to win a lot of races and just haven’t executed. Then today was a little bit of the opposite. We weren’t amazing, but we put things together at the end to have a chance to win the race, which was fun. That’s what it takes from a team is you have to make the best out of the days that aren’t the best car. That was really, really good for us to do that going into the Playoffs and now we’re going to Bristol where we have laps and we have experience as a team. I’ve been there twice with this team now. It’s time to go, time to get some Playoff points before the Playoffs start and then once we get going, we’re going to be locked in and ready to go.”
Did your Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) Cup teammates lean on you or your team for information around Richmond in preparation for tonight’s Cup race?
“I think that Kyle (Busch) is the connector between the two. I haven’t had any Cup guys ask me any questions, but I certainly asked them a lot of questions. I think that they learned from us and we learned some things that I think can apply to the Cup cars as well, especially with their package this weekend. Hopefully the JGR guys do well.”
BRANDON JONES, No. 19 Menards/Inspire Toyota Supra, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 8th
A solid bounce-back performance after the run from last night. How was your race this afternoon?
“After yesterday’s race, I didn’t know what to even ask. So, I just didn’t, because, typically if you ask the wrong questions, you get the goofy answers back. I stayed away from that a little bit and I went this morning and looked at SMT as much as I could. I didn’t watch any of the race back, but just studied SMT a bunch and put a bunch of notes in my notebook that I have. For today, it finally clicked with me in the race that where I need to be braking at and so I picked up on that. It was really good. A huge gainer for us. I kind of realized today that you cannot drive this track to the limit of the car. The way the track is designed – it’s almost like, you can have a lot of front turn on the entrance and the center, but the way the exit is, you have to wait so much longer on the car. It was quite a challenge in that sense. I think I finally found a couple things that helped that. So now, yesterday, we were great on the short run and weren’t really good on the long run, and I feel like we flip flopped today. We lost some short run speed and gained a bunch on our long run. There’s a lot of things that I’m going to go and study. We can use our sim tools at TRD and even iRacing on my own time to pick out a couple more markers, because I feel like you have to drive this track with markers a bunch.”
One more race before the Playoffs, do you feel like you and the team are ready for the charge for a championship?
“Yeah, we have to clean up some things after today, I feel like. I made a bunch of really small mistakes. Those add up over time, eventually, put us outside of where we really should have finished, which is top-five. I think we are ready. When we go the Playoffs, it needs to be solid, and everyone needs to be on the same page. That’s going to be the key to that, but Bristol is a dang good track for us. We’ve been so close to winning there multiple times, so it’s time to take that one, I think. We have the momentum. We have the confidence and speed, and everything is lining up to have a really good day there.”
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