Harrison Burton powers to Xfinity Series victory

Harrison Burton, driver of the #20 DEX Imaging Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Harrison Burton led just two laps in Saturday's Hooters 250 at NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway – the final two laps.

Burton powered past Austin Cindric and Noah Gragson with a three-wide pass with two laps to go to collect his second-career Xfinity Series victory, and punch his ticket to the Xfinity Series Playoffs.

Harrison Burton led just two laps in Saturday's Hooters 250 at NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway – the final two laps.

Burton powered past Austin Cindric and Noah Gragson with a three-wide pass with two laps to go to collect his second-career Xfinity Series victory, and punch his ticket to the Xfinity Series Playoffs.

Cindric came home second, followed by Gragson, Anthony Alfredo and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

Burton, the son of former Cup Series driver and current NBC Sports analyst Jeff Burton, flew under the radar for the entire race after starting on the pole position but kept his Toyota Supra off the wall and put himself in a position to win on the final restart following a caution flag with just five lap to go.

"I'm so excited. That's so awesome," said Burton in Victory Lane. "I gave away the lead on the first restart in the same position and I didn't really want to do that again. I knew the 9 (Noah Gragson) was going to drive in real deep and slide up so felt good about that."

Saturday's race the first of two Xfinity Series races in a rare doubleheader weekend. The second event is scheduled for noon on Sunday, giving the 19-year-old series rookie a chance for a two-win weekend.

"This track is so much fun. Really puts it in the driver's hands, especially at the end there," said Burton, "I'm just ready to go again tomorrow to be honest with you, I want to get two."

For much of the race, the drivers up from were Gragson, Cindric, Ross Chastain and Ryan Sieg, who combined to lead every laps of the first two 40-lap segments, with Sieg taking the win in the opening stage, and Gragson taking the top spot in the second.

In the third stage, it was Sieg and Chastain up front until the final round of green-flag pit stops with 31 laps to go put Gragson up front.

Gragson quickly pulled away from the field, opening up a 13-second lead and looking on his way to an easy victory.

But, as always in the Xfinity Series, it's never that easy.

With seven laps to go, Sieg cut a tire down and spun in thrum three, bringing out the yellow flag for fifth time on the day.

Gragson and the rest of the top ten drivers came to pit road, with Gragson leading the charge off pit road, followed by Burton, Earnhardt, Jr., Brandon Jones and Cindric.

On the restart, Gragson launched to the front with a strong push from Earnhardt, Jr., while Cindric came around the high side to take third behind Burton.

Coming through turn two, Burton dived low under Gragson and the two raced side by side before Cindric dived to the bottom and make it three wide to take the lead.

As three came out of turn four, Burton ducked too the low side and made it three wide at the white flag, going door to door with Cindric before clearing him and taking over the top spot as they came out of turn two.

From there, it was a drag race as Burton raced back to the checkered flag, crossing line two car-lengths ahead of Cindric to claim his second victory of the season.

Cindric was able to post his fifth top-five finish of the season but his first in the last three races.

"Finish-wise, I think we overachieved a little bit," said Cindric. "I think I could have made some better moves on the short run to try to get a stage win or two there, but, overall, another great performance as far as unloading close with something brand new. I think we've done that three times successfully and I'm proud of my team.

"It was definitely a frustrating day, but we can't hang our heads."

Earnhardt, Jr. came up short of the victory in his only scheduled Xfinity start of the year and his first since last August 31st at Darlington.

"I was rusty, all the way through," said Earnhardt, who hinted in his post-race interview that this may have been his last Xfinity Series start.

"I don't know how many more of these I'll do. This might be the last one. I don't know if it's getting to the point where I've gotta decide whether I'm helping things or I'm not helping the team. How can I help the team in other ways? I don't know. I really enjoy it. I really do. But I think there's gotta be a point to where I decide to make the change to broadcasting entirely."

Chase Briscoe came into Saturday's race as the points leader but lost six laps before the race even started after losing a piece of ballast off of his Ford Mustang during the pre-race pace laps.

Briscoe managed to fight his way back to a seventh-place finish, but lost the points lead to Gragson, who now leads by 18 points. Burton holds onto the third points position, 36 back from Gragson.

Winners Quotes

HARRISON BURTON, No. 20 DEX Imaging Toyota Supra, Joe Gibbs Racing

Finishing Position: 1st

Ross Chastain, driver of the #10 Nutrien Ag Solutions Chevrolet, and Noah Gragson, driver of the #9 PUBG MOBILE Chevrolet, lead the field
Ross Chastain, driver of the #10 Nutrien Ag Solutions Chevrolet, and Noah Gragson, driver of the #9 PUBG MOBILE Chevrolet, lead the field
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

How exciting was that finish to get the victory?

"I'm so excited. That's so awesome. I gave away the lead on the first restart in the same position and I didn't really want to do that again. I knew the 9 (Noah Gragson) was going to drive in real deep and slide up so felt good about that. Proud of my guys, they worked on this thing so hard every run – made it better and better. What a day to get this Xfinity Supra to victory lane. They can keep on doubting this thing and we're going to keep coming back."

What do you think your Mom was doing on that last lap knowing how animated she can be?

"I don't know, I don't know what I was doing honestly. What a race. This track is so much fun. Really puts it in the driver's hands, especially at the end there. I'm just ready to go again tomorrow to be honest with you, I want to get two."

What happened the first three-quarters of the race and where did you come from at the end?

"We were really tight the first little bit of the race there. We got better and better as the race went and I felt really pretty good about our car at the end. Made some adjustments for the short run there and my crew chief, Ben Beshore and my whole team, the No, 20 team just nailed it. What an awesome, awesome race for us to come back from losing all those spots early and hitting the splitter early to winning now. I would have done a big smoky burnout, but we have to race this car tomorrow and I'm excited for that. It means we will hopefully be just as good."

Take us through the last two laps.

"So much fun, for me especially. I gave him (Noah Gragson) the lead on the outside early and I think he chose the inside because of that. I knew I couldn't give it to him again. This is such a tight series and everyone is so, so competitive that you kind of have to claw and dig every chance you get. This was one of those times where he kind of got loose and got under him and it was a good race, that's for sure."

What was the difference between you and Austin Cindric on the final lap?

"I don't know. I was pretty excited once I got clear. I knew I just needed to slide through three and four and hope I could keep him (Austin Cindric) from getting a big run on him. It worked out really good. I'm out of breath, I did a lot of screaming and yelling and on top of that, it's hot out today. What a race, I hope the fans at home enjoyed it. We miss you out here."

Were you more aggressive on the final restart?

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]"It was crazy. Noah (Gragson) kind of beat me early in the race. We got on the splitter a little bit and he beat me on that first start and I wasn't going to let him do it again. I kind of knew what our strength would be versus his weakness. It worked out. It was such a great race, I hope for the fans at home, it felt like a great race inside the race car for us. We battled and we were struggling early really bad, really tight. Then my crew chief, Ben Beshore made an amazing adjustment and got us to where we were really, really fast at the end on the short run. Just still need to go to work some. Noah was really, really fast on the long run and had that caution not come out, he probably would have come out of there with a win. We have some work to do tonight, but that's what makes this team so good is we were nowhere to be found in the first stage so now that we have a whole night to go to work and kind of figure out where we need to be, should be a good thing for us hopefully."

Do you feel like you're starting to follow in your Dad's winning footsteps?

"I hope so. He's my biggest hero. I look up to my Dad so much, he's just a great person first off and even if there were hard days in racing and I know how hard racing can get sometimes and I've had hard times in racing, he was always a great Dad for us. Always had our backs and put us first. We returned the favor by cheering him on during race weekends and that was so cool to kind of have that relationship where I wanted to be not necessarily just like my Dad just because he was my Dad, but I was so proud of him and every time he would come home and he would win and if I wasn't there because I was in school or whatever it may be, I just remember that feeling of our whole family had succeeded and I hope that's how they feel now. I miss my family. My Mom isn't out here and she's always here. My Dad's not here and he's always here. My sister was at my win earlier this year in Fontana. Sad that they're not here for sure, but I know that they're having a good time at home celebrating and hopefully I can go and see them soon and hopefully have another win too that we can celebrate."

Is your Supra in good shape for tomorrow's race?

"I believe so. There was a little contact there late in the race. Just going as hard as everyone could. I think we're all set and ready to go. There's obviously always kind of stuff that's hiding below the body panels and things like that, but I feel like our team did a good job of giving me a car where I could be fast and not necessarily hit the wall getting loose or anything like that. I was happy with keeping it clean the whole race and then had to get a little aggressive at the end and had some contact, but I believe we should be good to go for tomorrow."

What point are you trying to prove to the ‘doubters' you keep mentioning?

"I had a tough year last year and struggled and myself included thought I should have won races and came up short. Because of that, I had a lot of people that doubted me coming to Joe Gibbs Racing and doubted that I would win races or run well or anything like that. That was fuel for me this off-season to work really hard. Fuel for my team – I keyed up over the radio, I said, ‘That's not bad for a bunch of people that's not supposed to win a race.' That rings true to this day. Even though we're winning, we're still hungry, we're still wanting to be the best team. There's guys out there that are fast every weekend and we have to get a little quicker, but it's definitely fun to go out there and steal a win like that. Makes you feel good going into the next race, that's for sure."

What does this say for the entire No. 20 team and momentum for tomorrow?

"Should be up there. We weren't fast enough, don't get me wrong. We were not good enough on the long run there to run with the 9 (Noah Gragson) or the 8 (Dale Earnhardt Jr.), but I felt like even the 19 (Brandon Jones) was better than us late there. We are working hard and I know that my team is hungry to do this again, but instead of having to steal a win, we're going to want to go and dominate tomorrow. The 9 is fast and the 22 (Austin Cindric) and the 19 and the 8 were all fast today and hopefully we can be another leg up on them and ride this confidence into tomorrow."

Did you expect to be as strong as you were on the final restart?

"We had a decent launch and I was kind of bummed because I spun my tires a little bit late and had to short-shift to third to try to stop that wheel spin and lost a little bit of ground. It ended up working out perfect. I was able to be close enough to Noah (Gragson) to where I could drive in on him and kind of make him slip up and apply that pressure to where he felt like he had to drive in really deep. That worked out really good for us. Such a slick race track. The line of over-slipping those front tires is so, so small. That last restart was crazy. I can't really remember everything that happened, everything is so reactionary. Really thankful for my spotter Rick Carelli, he was all over it and helped me get clear. It was craziness. I hope the fans at hope enjoyed it as much as I did."

What is the biggest thing you need to work on for tomorrow's race?

"I think the biggest thing is our speed about a quarter of the way through the corner. Other guys would be able to drive in and use less brake and they would be able to wrap the top better, get to the gas a little sooner. We need to find a way to rotate better, but not lose rear grip. That last change before the last restart, I would kind of overstep that line to where we were a little too loose. Our last change I thought was really good for the short run. It will be interesting to see where we fire-off for tomorrow and how well we can run on a long run there and hopefully we can dominate."

Results (250.5 Miles)

Fin Str No. Driver Team Laps Pts Status
1 1 20 Harrison Burton # DEX Imaging Toyota 167 44 Running
2 9 22 Austin Cindric PPG Ford 167 51 Running
3 2 9 Noah Gragson PUBG MOBILE Chevrolet 167 52 Running
4 21 21 Anthony Alfredo iRacing Chevrolet 167 36 Running
5 12 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hellmann's Chevrolet 167 43 Running
6 17 1 Michael Annett Allstate Parts & Service Group Chevy 167 31 Running
7 8 98 Chase Briscoe Ford Performance Racing School Ford 167 30 Running
8 4 19 Brandon Jones Menards/Fisher Toyota 167 37 Running
9 3 10 Ross Chastain Nutrien Ag Solutions Chevrolet 167 45 Running
10 6 18 Riley Herbst # Monster Energy Toyota 167 27 Running
11 14 07 JJ Yeley Jacob Construction Chevrolet 167 26 Running
12 23 51 Jeremy Clements Fly and Form Structures Chevrolet 167 25 Running
13 10 11 Justin Haley LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet 167 32 Running
14 5 68 Brandon Brown bmsraceteam.com Chevrolet 167 23 Running
15 26 93 Myatt Snider Louisiana Hot Sauce Chevrolet 166 22 Running
16 32 08 Joe Graf Jr # Bucked Up Energy Chevrolet 166 22 Running
17 31 15 Colby Howard SANY America Chevrolet 166 20 Running
18 16 4 Jesse Little # Series Seating/KSDT Chevrolet 166 19 Running
19 15 0 Jeffrey Earnhardt EcoVirux Chevrolet 166 18 Running
20 18 92 Josh Williams Starbrite/Star Tron Chevrolet 166 17 Running
21 37 26 Colin Garrett Rosie Network/R4H Toyota 166 16 Running
22 27 99 Stefan Parsons RACINGJOBS.COM Toyota 165 15 Running
23 28 61 Timmy Hill(i) RoofClaim.com Toyota 165 0 Running
24 25 74 Bayley Currey(i) Mutt and Jeff Porkskins Chevrolet 165 0 Running
25 36 36 Alex Labbe Globocam/Rousseau Chevrolet 165 18 Running
26 22 6 BJ McLeod KSDT CPA Chevrolet 165 11 Running
27 35 5 Matt Mills J.F. Electric Chevrolet 165 10 Running
28 7 39 Ryan Sieg CMRRoofing.com Chevrolet 165 21 Running
29 24 90 Caesar Bacarella Alpha Prime/Maxim Chevrolet 163 8 Running
30 19 13 Chad Finchum CrashClaimsR.us Toyota 160 7 Power
31 34 44 Tommy Joe Martins Gilreath Farms Red Angus Chevrolet 148 6 Running
32 11 7 Justin Allgaier Thank You Team BRANDT Chevrolet 146 6 Running
33 29 47 Kyle Weatherman #BACKTHEBLUE Chevrolet 67 9 Trans
34 20 78 Vinnie Miller Koolbox Chevrolet 58 3 DVP
35 13 02 Brett Moffitt(i) Robert B. Our Co. Inc Chevrolet 56 0 Accident
36 33 66 Stephen Leicht JANIKING Toyota 49 1 Handling
37 30 52 Kody Vanderwal # ADVANCED DAIRY SERVICE Chevrolet 32 1 Engine

(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series

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