Harrison Burton and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team had an impressive Cook Out Southern 500 run come to a premature end as he was collected in a crash with just 49 of 367 laps remaining.
Burton, who had worked his way from a 32nd-place start to 12th place, saw his race come to an end when Alex Bowman and Daniel Suarez wrecked ahead of him just after a restart. Burton, running just behind the battling duo, slid into Suarez’s car, seriously damaging the No. 21 Mustang. Unable to continue, he was relegated to a 35th-place finish.
Burton said there was nothing he could do to avoid getting collected.
“By the time I saw [Suarez] coming down, he was in my lap,” Burton told reporters after being checked at the track’s care center.
The incident ended a remarkable comeback that saw Burton and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team, now being led by crew chief Jeremy Bullins, regain a lost lap and move to just outside the top 10 as the laps wound down in the Labor Day weekend marathon.
The first Stage of the race ran without a caution other than the yellow flag at the end of that segment. The No. 21 Mustang was scored in 26th place, but one lap down at the end of the Stage.
The second Stage saw the team utilize the wave around during a caution period in the closing laps of that segment to rejoin the lead lap.
Burton wound up 21st at the end of the second Stage and continued the march forward in the third and final segment of the race until the crash ended his run.
“It was really unfortunate,” he said. “I felt like we had a pretty good day going. We qualified poorly, and were digging ourselves out of that hole all day.
“We finally got into the top 15 and felt like we could race there for the rest of the race and got caught up.”
Burton also said he appreciated the efforts of his Motorcraft/Quick Lane teammates.
“It was a really long, hard-fought race for us to get up to where we were,” he said. “I was proud of that effort. We will move on and be better next time.”
Burton and the Wood Brothers team now begin preparing for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway.