Harrison Burton (second) was the top Toyota in Saturday afternoon’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina. Burton battled race winner, Noah Gragson, in the final laps, but came up just shy of the victory when the checkered flag waved. Fellow Toyota driver Denny Hamlin led 43 laps (of 147), but a late race pit road penalty forced him to start at the rear with three laps remaining.
Toyota Racing Post-Race Recap
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Race 24 of 33 – 200.1 miles, 147 laps
TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS
1st, Noah Gragson*
2nd, HARRISON BURTON
3rd, Austin Cindric*
4th, Justin Haley*
5th, Jeb Burton*
12th, DENNY HAMLIN
17th, COLIN GARRETT
24th, DANIEL HEMRIC
30th, DAVID STARR
33rd, BRANDON JONES
HARRISON BURTON, No. 20 DEX Imaging Toyota Supra, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 2nd
Can you describe how the race unfolded for you?
“I’m just upset. I really wanted to win here. This place means a lot to me. It’s fun to run well here, but it sucks to not win here. We’ll keep digging at it. This is a really resiliant race team. We were without our crew chief, Jason Ratcliff who was at home today. Everyone stepped up on the race team and prepared the car well. Obviously, we were really fast today. Good job everybody at the shop and we’ll keep plugging away at it. These next few races are really good for us. This was one that I thought would be good for us as well. Our DEX Imaging Supra was good and just needed a better launch there at the end to stay close. Just frustrated.”
What did you need on the final restart to get the win?
“I don’t know. I did a bad job the launch beforehand, which I guess didn’t really affect us on the last one. If I couldn’t be leading, I wanted to be second row inside and we got that. Gosh, I don’t know. We needed some more speed in one and two. I don’t really know how to get it. Three and four was phenomenal all day, that was our strong suit. Just fought really hard today. Our crew chief, Jason Ratcliff is at home and we wanted to win for him at home. Our engineer normally was our crew chief today and did a great job. Our whole team really rallied together. Good result, but sad. I just love this place and I wanted to win here really bad.”
When you’re that close, does it make it worse to finish second?
“Oh yeah, definitely. I was trying to do Texas part two with Noah (Gragson) and try to get him on the last corner and just fell short. Hats off to them, they’ve been fast here all year really. They were fast earlier and now they’ve won. Just wanted this one really bad and frustrated to not get it, but our DEX Imaging Supra team will keep digging.”
Have you noticed changes in your team leading to the consistent runs in recent weeks?
“We’re a team with a bunch of winners. Everyone on this team has either won together or won some other place at different levels. A lot of guys have Cup experience. I feel like we just have that experience when it comes time to get to The Playoffs, we’re going to be really dangerous and run more like we have recently. Mentally, I’ve been treating these last few races as if they’re the first round of the Playoffs because the situation we’ve kind of put ourselves in without winning throughout the season has kind of made it to where it’s going to be a long road and I have to be perfect. Matching that intensity now is the whole deal and trying to continue that.”
What did you think of the new ‘grip strip’ pavement in turn two?
“It was really fun to drive. It presented some challenges because normally your whole corner through there is setup to make that part of the race track where you can just get through it more or less. It’s such an awkward angle and now it’s like, ‘Oh, I just need to get through this and get to the grip strip and I’m good.’ It sorts you out. It shifted the focus from the place where they paved it to now through the center of that corner. This place entering the center through one and two has always been wild. That was kind of my weak spot today balance-wise in the car, but I think it’s going to be fun to watch tomorrow and I’m excited to stay and watch the Cup race tomorrow. Watch those guys get through it, it will be a good show.”
Toyota Racing PR