Harrison Burton, 19, earns his first NASCAR Xfinity Series win with Fontana triumph
Nineteen-year-old Harrison Burton won his first NASCAR Xfinity Series race Saturday by holding off a charge from teammate Riley Herbst in the closing laps at Auto Club Speedway.
Burton, driving the No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, led by a half-second over Herbst at the finish to capture the Production Alliance Group 300 at the Fontana track, Burton’s first win in 12 Xfinity Series starts.
“It feels awesome to win,” Burton said, adding that he was “trying to be smart and not put it into the wall” in the final stages. “It’s something I’ve worked so hard for.”
Burton, of Huntersville, N.C., comes from a racing family. His father Jeff Burton and uncle Ward Burton are former NASCAR drivers, and Jeff Burton also won a race in NASCAR’s second-level Xfinity Series at Fontana in 2007.
This is the first full season for the younger Burton in the Xfinity Series; he made nine starts last year while also competing in NASCAR’s truck series.
It’s been a long time since Jimmie Johnson was a consistent NASCAR Cup series winner, but he wants to make the most of his final season.
Herbst, when asked whether there was any way his No. 18 Toyota could have caught Burton on the two-mile Fontana oval, said “a few more laps” and then added: “I’m really, really proud of Harrison.”
Burton started the race second behind pole-sitter Brandon Jones, another Gibbs teammate who led the first 75 laps of the 150-lap race in his No. 19 Toyota.
A series of minor accidents repeatedly brought out the caution flag and shuffled the field, setting the stage for Burton and Herbst to decide the matter in the last 20 laps.
Burton initially led Herbst by two seconds, but Herbst kept closing the gap, which “definitely made it fun at the end, a little too fun,” Burton said.
Briscoe was in contention again Saturday until he spun in Turn 4 with 25 laps left, and he finished 19th.
Get our high school sports newsletter
Prep Rally is devoted to the SoCal high school sports experience, bringing you scores, stories and a behind-the-scenes look at what makes prep sports so popular.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.