After spending a Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway experiencing the highs and lows of motorsports, Harrison Burton and the No. 21 DEX Imaging team are headed to Talladega Superspeedway confident they can overcome whatever obstacles the racing gods place in their path.
At Texas, Burton and the No. 21 team worked their way to the front of the pack and led the race for 15 laps only to lose the lead and a lap when a pit stop went awry and the team had to deal with a serious fire. Still, the team recovered, regained the lost lap and wound up with an 18th-place finish.
This week’s 54th annual YellaWood 500 marks the 100th Talladega start for the Wood Brothers team, which has five wins, 19 top-five and 33 top-10 finishes plus six poles at the high-banked, 2.66-mile superspeedway.
Crew chief Brian Wilson believes the team can mark that milestone with a strong showing this Sunday.
“Last weekend in Texas, it was really special to see the No. 21 Ford at the front of the field, especially with Nancy Wood’s name on the door,” Wilson said. “That was a great boost of confidence for our whole group and shows that our process is starting to pay off.
“As we head back to Talladega our group should also have confidence based on our previous speedway performance as well. I keep telling the guys if we survive one of these races we’ll end up with a great result.
“From the first race of the season in Daytona through the rest of the speedway races our team has shown the speed to run up front at each one of them. We’ll look to continue to build on that success this weekend.”
But as the Wood Brothers have learned in their previous 99 starts at the Alabama track, races there truly are wild-card affairs.
“Races at Talladega always produce some unpredictable action,” Wilson said. “As we’ve shown the past few weeks, and really all season, our group will be ready for anything that comes our way.”
There will be no practice for the Cup Series this weekend. Qualifying is set for Saturday at 9:30 a.m. (10:30 Eastern Time).
Sunday’s 188-lap race is scheduled to start just after 1 p.m. (2 p.m. Eastern) with TV coverage on NBC.
Stage breaks are planned for Laps 60 and 120.