NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Harrison Burton will make his NASCAR Cup Series debut Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway in the Geico 500. He’ll drive the #96 Gaunt Brothers Racing Toyota through a deal with Joe Gibbs Racing, the team for which Burton drives in the Xfinity Series.
“I’m just thankful for the opportunity,” Burton said. “It’s a dream come true, and it’s pretty neat to think back on all the days that I spent working and taking my parents’ time away and travelling all over the country with them trying to race. And everyone in NASCAR along the way, whether it’s KBM [Kyle Busch Motorsports] or Joe Gibbs Racing who have helped me be a better race car driver and get to where I am now, it’s nuts. It’s something I’ll never forget. I’m excited to be here, but I’m a competitive guy, so just being there isn’t enough. I’m really looking forward to working hard and trying to get a really good run out of it.”
Burton is in his second season as a full-time Xfinity Series driver, both with JGR. He was the 2020 Xfinity Series Rookie-of-the-Year on the strength of four wins that season. In seven Xfinity Series races, so far, in 2021, Burton has two top-fives and five top-10 race finishes. The Talladega weekend will be a double-duty weekend for the driver, as the Xfinity Series races at the superspeedway Saturday.
Burton also raced in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports between 2016 and 2019, including the full 2019 season. He posted 11 top-fives and 18 top-10 finishes in 38 Truck Series races.
Gaunt Brothers Racing has scaled back to part-time Cup Series competition in 2021, focusing primarily on superspeedways and road courses. The Talladega race is the fourth race the team has entered, so far, this season, with Ty Dillon the driver for the previous three. Dillon failed to qualify for the season-opening Daytona 500 but contested races from behind the wheel of the #96 on the Daytona International Speedway road course and in the Bristol Motor Speedway dirt race. The #96 team has a best 2021 finish of 19th on the Daytona road course.