Toyota Racing – Harrison Burton
NASCAR Xfinity Series Quotes
FORT WORTH (June 9, 2021) – Joe Gibbs Racing driver Harrison Burton was made available to media prior to the Texas race weekend earlier today:
HARRISON BURTON, No. 20 Offerpad Toyota Supra, Joe Gibbs Racing
How would you evaluate this season for you thus far?
“It’s been frustrating at times. I feel like we should be winning more races. We haven’t got into that win column yet, but it has been a positive season because I think we’ve been running almost better than we ran last year at times. Last year, we won right off the bat. Won four races, had a pretty decent season, but I felt like we passed someone on the last lap. Martinsville was really the only race where I felt like we dominated. Now I feel like it’s the opposite. We are running up front more. I just need to find a way to capitalize on those runs. I need to find a way to win those races. As a team, we are doing a good job of meshing and learning each other as tough as it can be with no practice and no experience together kind of knowing what you can do. It’s been okay. We have higher goals in mind. We have to get after it and get to winning and getting more Playoff points.”
When do you start talking to people about next season?
“I don’t know really. I’m in the awesome situation where my dad (Jeff Burton) is a big part of my business side of my career because he knows the business well. I’ve got great partners behind me so I can kind of lean on my dad to navigate decision making and all of that. He’s been really great at that. That allows me to just focus on driving, so I’m getting the results. If you get results and show talent, the opportunities will follow. I would like to start getting in that direction soon, but nothing too crazy going on quite yet.”
What do you think about the return to Nashville and how are you preparing?
“It’s exciting. Anytime I go somewhere I feel like I have the same experience as everyone else, I kind of tally that as an advantage. I feel like we have gotten used to having to prepare with not practicing and having to show up at places with limited experience. Especially last year, going to a lot of places for the first time in the Xfinity car and having to learn quickly. It’s exciting to me to get there. Obviously, it’s an awesome town. It’s an awesome city. It’s a great market for our sport. It’s amazing. I think the track is going to be really fun and put on a great race, and for me personally, I’m excited to go and try it out. I’ve done it on the simulator. I probably started four weeks ago; I ran my first time there. I’m trying to learn as quick as I can, and I’m trying to get our team a win there.”
What do you remember about the exciting win at Texas last season?
“Yeah, that was an exciting win last year. I remember how exciting how it was for me to win that race because just the circumstances it was under. I spun out earlier in the race. I made a mistake and kind of overstepped the car and somehow spun through the grass and didn’t tear off a splitter like I did last weekend. I made it through the grass and came back and rallied for the win. Those are probably the best two laps of my life that I ran – to run the 9 (Noah Gragson) down and pass him for the win. It was an awesome experience and that is a win that you can’t really draw up any better. You pass them on the last corner of the last lap to take the checkered from a distance you didn’t think you could catch them from. That’s pretty neat. I have a lot of confidence going into Texas just knowing that I can do it and get it done there.”
Are those the best kind of wins, when you come back from a challenge to score victory?
“I think so. Whenever you feel like you stole a win and you just did something that you didn’t expect to work and it worked, that’s always the most gratifying. You feel like you are on top of the world. It’s hard to beat that feeling for sure.”
Does Ty Gibbs scoring victories frustrating for you because you haven’t earned a win this year?
“When someone else wins on your team and you are not, it’s a little bit frustrating, but really, Ty’s (Gibbs) done a good job at being part of the team. He meshes well with everyone. We get along great, so I’m just happy for him. I remember last year, I got off to kind of a hot start, won a race early and felt probably the same type of feelings that he is feeling right now. It’s just a fun time to win races and run well every weekend. It’s just hard to beat that feeling. For him, it’s exciting and it’s exciting for the company. Coach’s (Joe Gibbs, team owner) grandson is running well and it’s neat for everyone. Overall, I can’t really say it frustrates me. I think he’s done a good job. He’s come in and deserved to win those races. It’s just about our team getting better and trying to win for ourselves. I think we are very capable of doing it, just have to make it happen soon.”
When you look at the Playoff field, do you want the same guys to keep winning?
“Well, if the same guys are always winning, as long as it’s me, I’m good. As long as it’s everyone else, it’s not good. They tend to get that gap between everyone else and the Playoff points are a huge deal, and it just makes it tough to crack into that Championship 4 without Playoff points. You are going to have to go and win if you don’t have any Playoff points to get into the top four. Most likely, you will have to go and win a race in the last round. For me, it’s important to start building that tally for ourselves and make us one of the top four cars and a threat on points to win the championship. I really feel confident that we can win any weekend, it’s just about putting it together and making it happen. It’s a tough feeling when you get out of the racecar and you are like, ‘Gosh, I just don’t know what we could have done differently. I ran well all day and put ourself in position and it just didn’t happen.’ I think it’s building Playoff points and trying to win for ourselves and create that gap is a big thing, but if anyone else does it, it is bad news for anyone else in the field.”
How far do you work ahead with your preparation?
“For me personally, I’m probably farther ahead than a lot of guys because I do a lot of the scaling for the simulator. Every weekend you have to scale the simulator to make it accurate. On Mondays, I’m in there trying to run tracks to make the simulator more accurate for those tracks and for our team to kind of get better. I’m normally pretty far ahead. Four weeks ago, I did Nashville and tried to make that accurate – which was tough, because I’ve never been there but neither had anyone else. Just trying to guess on that, but I’ve run Pocono, post-scaling all of the racetracks. I go back after the race and make them better. Kind of all over the place really. Trying to get the tires and all of the things that go into the sim model is insane. It’s hard to wrap my head around. Lucky that all of the great engineers at TRD (Toyota Racing Development) can kind of hold my hand through it. For my team as far as Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) and my engineer, Dustin (Zacharyasz), we do the weekend of. We spend a few hours on the track the weekend of, but with JGR’s (Joe Gibbs Racing) time slot, I will do tracks in advance or last week or whatever they need to make it more accurate.”
How long is your session on the simulator?
“It’s pretty interesting. They have the ability to tune (INAUDIBLE) with scaling and then I’ll do 12 to 1:30 or 12:30 to 2 with my team afterwards. It’s a lot of laps. I’ve looked down at the lap counter a few times and it’s been way up there in number. It’s all about getting that feel in the car. It’s hard to emulate the feeling of ‘Oh my gosh. I’m sideways loose. I feel uncomfortable.’ because you are not afraid to hit anything in there. Just things like that are things I’m working on and trying to get better. I think we are doing a good job at getting our sim program better and better and that’s really important now-a-days with no practice. So, yeah, it’s normally a pretty long shift, but it’s definitely worth it. It pays dividends afterwards.”
Have you been doing this all season?
“I was doing it some last year, and all season this year. A few times, my teammates will jump in and do it. This last weekend, Daniel (Hemric) took my shift because I (stuck) my splitter into the grass and he did a good job at getting the Mid-Ohio tire good. Just whatever works for the company. We get an email on when we need to be there and that’s when I’m there.”
Toyota (NYSE:TM) has been a part of the cultural fabric in North America for more than 60 years, and is committed to advancing sustainable, next-generation mobility through our Toyota and Lexus brands plus our 1,800 dealerships.
Toyota has created a tremendous value chain and directly employs more than 47,000 in North America. The company has contributed world-class design, engineering, and assembly of more than 40 million cars and trucks at our 14 manufacturing plants, 15 including our joint venture in Alabama that begins production in 2021.
Through its Start Your Impossible campaign, Toyota highlights the way it partners with community, civic, academic and governmental organizations to address our society’s most pressing mobility challenges. We believe that when people are free to move, anything is possible. For more information about Toyota, visit www.toyotanewsroom.com.