Last year, Harrison Burton led 111 laps in the Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway (FL), but late-race strategy didn’t work out in Burton’s favor and he settled for a 10th-place finish. This year, Burton returns for the 52nd Annual Snowball Derby presented by BJ’s Wholesale Club hoping to avenge his tough loss and score the biggest victory of his career.
In the 2018 Snowball Derby, Burton led more laps than any other driver, and it appeared he would lead the final 24 laps after taking the lead from Ty Majeski on fresher tires during an extended green-flag run near the end of the race. However, a caution with less than 20 laps to go allowed the competition to strap on new tires while Burton was left to fend off all comers.
Ultimately, Burton slipped to 10th in the final running order. However, his ability to lead early and often after starting on the pole for last year’s Derby gives him confidence entering this year’s race.
“It’s more exciting because I knew we had a chance to win last year,” Burton told Speed51. “Having that confidence going into this year knowing we can do it and we were fast all year last year. We qualified on the pole, which is so hard to do here. Knowing we had that speed gives us confidence. Trying to put it all together and trying to give ourselves an opportunity to win like we had last year, that’s all you can ask for is a chance. We got it last year, hopefully we get it again.”
Burton has had limited seat time in his Super Late Model this year, thanks in part to a full-time campaign in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. While he will move up to the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2020 with Joe Gibbs Racing, he still enjoys being able to return to the Super Late Model for major events like the Snowball Derby.
“I love to do it. It’s fun. There’s not much like Super Late Model racing out there,” he stated. “It’s super cool to come back here and try to beat these guys in their own backyard. Trying to make it all happen, it’s such a cool atmosphere. The cars are just fun to drive. As a race car driver, it’s important because it teaches you things. As a person, it’s just fun, so you enjoy doing it.”
Burton also believes the variety of experience behind different race cars brings a different skillset to the table when he has the chance to climb back in a Super Late Model.
“I think that there’s advantages to that as well. I think racing other things and learning from that and bringing it back to Super Late Models. It’s going to help me in the race, for sure. We’ve just got to get where we are fast enough to run with those guys for the win.”
After doing some testing at Five Flags Speedway leading up to the Derby, Burton is gaining confidence in his entry for this year’s race.
“I feel like we’re getting there right now. We’re working towards it in the test and we’ve got a long week to go. We’re putting building blocks together and looking to make a big masterpiece out of it.”
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