Date: June 3, 2017
MILLINGTON, Tenn. — Harrison Burton is on a roll in 2017, and all the bad luck he suffered in 2016 seems to have fallen by the wayside.
The 16-year-old Huntersville, North Carolina, native won his second race in a row and third of the season on Saturday afternoon at Memphis International Raceway. He survived a race of attrition that saw two of the fastest drivers, Chase Purdy and Todd Gilliland, encounter problems past the halfway point in the Memphis 125 Presented by AutoZone.
But a win is a win. And to Burton, it was the never say die attitude instilled in him and his No. 12 DEX Imaging Toyota Team that willed him to Victory Lane.
“We weren’t the best car,” Burton said. “But that’s what we’re about: we never quit. When we’re in positon and the opportunity falls to us, we end up in Victory Lane. That’s part a little due to good fortune but also due to a lot of hard work and us being in the right position at the right time to capitalize when other guys’ days go wrong.”
Burton ran third for the entire first half of the race behind Purdy and Gilliland. But slowly, Burton’s car came to life.
He passed Gilliland with 19 laps remaining. After Purdy was sidelines by mechanical problem and Gilliland slowed with a flat tire, Burton was in the clear, and never looked back.
“We didn’t have the best car and we knew that going into the race,” said Burton, who led 19 laps. “Our strategy was to be there at the end and that’s what happened. Really proud of my guys. They never quit on me and I never quit on them and it’s a great team to be a part of. We’re looking forward to winning more of these things, that’s for sure.”
Chase Cabre brought his No. 4 Max Siegel Inc. Toyota home in second place when the checkered flag flew, the best finish of his career.
“We were pretty good and had the car underneath us all race long,” Cabre said. “We did exactly what my crew chief Mark Green told me to do and that’s race the race track and it’ll give you what you got […] I don’t think I focused on anybody when I was out there. I just focused on making every lap as hard and clean as I could without overdriving, and it paid off.”
Travis Miller’s No. 40 MDM Motorsports Toyota was beaten and battered on the right side, but it came home in a solid third place for his second top five of the season. Ronnie Bassett Jr. and Jay Beasley rounded out the top five.
Hunter Baize and Collin Cabre finished in sixth and seventh, respectively. Gilliland coming home eighth, after leading 45 laps, ahead of Dillon Bassett and Trey Hutchens. Purdy, who won his first 21 Means 21 Pole Award presented by Coors Brewing Co. earlier in the day, ended up finishing in 13th place after leading 61 laps, three laps down.
Burton was able to extend his championship points lead to 28 over Gilliland after eight races. Hunter Baize is another 18 points back and third through seventh are separated by just seven points.
The next event for the K&N Pro Series East will be July 1 at Berlin Raceway, marking the halfway point of the 2017 season. The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East has never raced at the Marne, Mich. race track.
The Memphis 125 Presented by AutoZone will air on Thursday, June 8 at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN.