A strong effort from the start to finish of Sunday’s Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway delivered a season-best sixth-place finish for Harrison Burton and the No. 21 DEX Imaging team.
Burton, running a throwback paint scheme honoring the No. 99 Ford his dad Jeff Burton raced in 1999, took the green flag from 14th place, his best start of the season.
He quickly moved forward and ran in the top 10 for a time before ending the first 90-lap Stage in 11th place.
He fell back a bit in the second Stage after a slow pit stop and ended that 90-lap segment in 18th place, but was back in the top 15 by Lap 210.
Burton had dropped back out of the top 15 as the laps wound down, but a series of late caution periods offered him a chance to capitalize on the speed of his DEX Imaging Mustang.
He drove past a multi-car crash on a restart following a spin by Ryan Newman, and that put him in eighth place for the next restart, with six laps remaining.
Another restart crash paved the way for Burton to move into the top five headed into an Overtime run to the finish, where he came away with a sixth-place finish, his first top-10 of the season.
Burton told reporters at the track that the Darlington performance adds to the optimism that’s building for him and the DEX Imaging team.
“Things are starting to click,” he said, adding that as gets well into his sophomore season in the Cup Series he’s becoming more comfortable behind the wheel. “Things are coming easier… We’ve just got to keep this going.”
He said the strong Darlington run came at a good time and is something he and the team can build on in the near future.
“We really needed it,” Burton said. “The last few weeks we’ve kind of been on the other side of it, where we’ve been fast and didn’t have anything to show for it.
“This week was kind of the opposite. We were probably a 10th-place car and finished sixth. That was just about execution at the end, restarts at the end and getting a decent finish.”
Burton and the No. 21 team now turn their attention to the NASCAR All-Star Race next Sunday at the historic North Wilkesboro Speedway.