By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Correspondent
NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series regular Harrison Burton will accomplish two milestones at Iowa Speedway.
In the Truck Series, the Kyle Busch Motorsports driver will make his 25th-career start in the No. 18 Morton Buildings Toyota Tundra. In his 24 previous series starts, Burton has seven top-five and 12 top-10 finishes. He also earned his first career pole position in the M&M’s 200 presented by Casey’s General Store last year.
Burton has two previous starts at the 0.875-mile track. In addition to his pole last season, he also earned his career best finish, third, at the Newton, IA track. Burton matched that finish at Dover International Speedway earlier this season.
“Really, really excited to get back to Iowa,” Burton explained. “It’s one of my favorite race tracks Multiple grooves, lots of hard racing, short-track racing. Morton Buildings is onboard again, so maybe that’s good luck. They always have a big group of people that come out to watch the races and are always pumped up. I’m excited to go get after it.”
In addition to Iowa marking his 25th Truck Series start, Burton will also compete in double duty between the Truck Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series for the first time. He made his Xfinity Series debut at Bristol Motor Speedway earlier this season. Burton started fifth and finished 10th in that race.
Burton is the only driver scheduled to compete in both the Truck and Xfinity Series races this weekend. In the Xfinity race, he will drive the No. 18 DEX Imaging Toyota Supra for Joe Gibbs Racing.
“Double Duty is always tough,” Burton admitted. “It’s going to be a super-long day. Iowa, that race is normally hot, so you have to hydrate – hydration starts early in the week. I’ve been in the gym a lot recently, even before double duty, that always helps keeping your heart rate low and helps keep you focused. There’s a lot of things that you can do to prepare yourself to go and do the double duty.”
In nine starts this season, Burton has three top-five and five top-10 finishes. The 18-year-old has struggled this season, his average finish well behind what he earned in the eight-race schedule he competed in last year.
“I think that running any laps, anywhere, the more laps you get the better you are going to be,” Burton said. “I’m really excited to try and hop back and forth between Xfinity and the truck, knowing that one will probably help me for the other.
“I’ll get out of the Xfinity car having more laps than I would just running the truck and that will hopefully help me in the Truck Series and vice versa the Truck Series will help me in the Xfinity Series. Hopefully we can come out of there with really good finishes — hopefully wins.”
The Sunoco Rookie of the Year Contender enters Iowa eighth in the Truck Series championship points standings. Burton is 86-points behind points leader Grant Enfinger. He also holds the cutoff for the playoffs, 26-points ahead of his KBM teammate, Todd Gilliland.
Burton will first take the green flag in the M&M’s 200 Truck race Saturday night followed by the CircuitCity.com 250 Xfinity race Sunday afternoon.