On Apr. 25, the NASCAR Cup Series drivers will head to Talladega Superspeedway for the Geico 500. The fan-favorite track will feature the addition of a special guest in the form of Harrison Burton. The 20-year-old Xfinity Series driver will make his Cup Series debut.
Burton announced the news during Thursday’s episode of NASCAR Race Hub. He revealed that he will be in the No. 96 Gaunt Brothers Racing Toyota Camry for the first time ever and that Dex Imaging will serve as his primary sponsor. Hunt Brothers Pizza will also join him for the special event.
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“I’m incredibly grateful to DEX Imaging and Toyota for providing this opportunity with Gaunt Brothers Racing,” Burton said in a press release from Gaunt Brothers Racing. “From the moment I started racing, the Cup Series was always the goal. In everything I’ve done, I’ve been working toward this moment. I saw how hard my dad worked to get to Cup and how hard he worked to compete and win races. He instilled that same work ethic in me and I’m just really proud and honored to have the chance to do what he did and compete with the best of the best.”
Burton is the son of NASCAR royalty
The Xfinity Series driver is no stranger to motorsports. His father, Jeff Burton, competed from 1993 until 2014 and made 695 starts. According to racing’s sanctioning body, the man known as the “Mayor of NASCAR” accumulated 21 Cup wins during his career. He also earned the honors of Rookie of the Year in 1994.
Along with his success in the Cup Series, Jeff won 27 races in the Xfinity Series. He is only one of 10 drivers in NASCAR history to accumulate at least 20 wins in both series. His list of accomplishments includes reaching Victory Lane in two of the Crown Jewel events, the Coca-Cola 600 and the Southern 500.
Jeff’s final full-time season was in 2013, but he has continued to contribute to NASCAR on Sunday afternoons. He is part of the NBC broadcast team that also includes Dale Earnhardt Jr., Rick Allen, Steve Letarte, and Dale Jarrett.
Burton has carried on his father’s winning legacy
The 20-year-old Burton has achieved considerable success during his racing career, taking the checkered flag in several series. He has won races in Super Late Models, the K&N Pro Series, the ARCA Menards Series, and the Xfinity Series. His 2020 season, in particular, featured four victories and 15 finishes in the top five.
Burton doesn’t know if he will find success at Talladega while making his Cup Series debut, but he said that taking the checkered flag “is the plan.” Burton acknowledged on NASCAR Race Hub that winning his first Cup race in his first start is “pretty darn near impossible,” but he explained that he wouldn’t show up if he didn’t think he could compete with the other drivers.
Burton will see a familiar face when he heads to Talladega and climbs behind the wheel of the No. 96 Toyota Camry. He will compete against Chase Briscoe, a former Xfinity Series driver who made the leap to a full-time Cup car in 2021 after winning nine races in 2020. Briscoe finished the season fourth overall while Burton finished eighth. Austin Cindric won the Xfinity Series championship.
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