Joe Gibbs Racing’s Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Harrison Burton continued to make history last weekend at Phoenix Raceway, notching his fourth consecutive top-five finish to start the season in as many races. This is the seventh time in series history a driver has started the season with four top fives and Burton is the first and only rookie in the NASCAR Xfinity Series to accomplish the feat, and the sixth driver all-time; joining Sam Ard (1984), Kevin Harvick (2005), Carl Edwards (2009, 2010), Elliott Sadler (2012) and Kyle Busch (2014). The series record for the most consecutive top-five finishes to start a season is eight, by Kyle Busch in 2014. In fact, Busch is the only driver to make it to five straight top fives to start a season.
With a win (California) and four top fives to start 2020, Burton has a grasp on the series standings lead by three points over second-place Chase Briscoe. This weekend will be Burton’s series track debut at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and though Burton is off to a record pace, adding a little extra pressure this weekend is the fact the No. 20 JGR team won this race at Atlanta last season with driver Christopher Bell. Bell dominated the event, leading 142 of the 163 laps (87%).
On the bright side, Burton isn’t a complete stranger to Atlanta Motor Speedway, he made his NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series debut at the 1.54-mile facility for Kyle Busch Motorsports last season – starting second and finishing in the top 10 (eighth).
“I have some experience at Atlanta,” said Burton. “I’ve ran the Trucks there, ran really good last year in the truck. I think I was running second most of the race to Kyle (Busch). I felt like I was a 10th faster than the field and he was a 10.5 faster than me. But that was a good race for us. I finished eighth or so, just had a bad restart at the end. Ran up front all day. So, I have some experience at Atlanta.”