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Diversifying Is The Key For Harrison Burton

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, March 23 2019
Harrison Burton is into driving and learning. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Ashley R Dickerson)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Harrison Burton has known since childhood that he wanted a racing career, but the second-generation driver doesn’t confine himself to one series, preferring instead to develop a versatility that he believes will pay dividends as his career matures.

“NASCAR has made a lot of rules changes recently,” Burton said at Martinsville Speedway during preparations for Saturday’s TruNorth Global 250. “In the truck series there hasn’t been too huge of a change yet, but in the future you never know what can happen.

“I feel like I can get in anything and drive it. Learning the habit of not making habits is hard. You can’t make habits. You have to learn and adapt and be proactive. There are so many variables that change all the time.”

The 18-year-old Burton opened the 2019 season with an ARCA victory at Daytona. A week later he finished 18th in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series season opening event at the 2.5-mile track. Since then he has posted two top-10 finishes in the last three races in his Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota to move into fourth in the truck standings. When he’s not racing in one of those two series, he’s competing in his super late model.

“I have the opportunities right now to be racing more than a lot of people, so that is an advantage to me,” said Burton, who’s in his first full-time season with KBM. “When I’m not in an actual race car I’ll be iRacing every night, in simulators and studying race film. It’s a bit of an addiction at this point and that’s OK. It makes me better.”

Burton noted he’s had to balance many different things in his life since deciding to be a professional race car driver. He figures he’s had a full-time job since he was probably 11 years old, so he’s grown up quickly.     

In May, Burton graduates from Cannon School, a private, independent college preparatory school in Concord, N.C. His first collegiate choice is Arizona State because “they have a really great online program” and most of the classes “roll into a brick-and-mortar school really well.” Attending classes online is essential to Burton’s career plans.  

“I’m at a spot in my life where I have an opportunity and I want to harness that and embrace that,” Burton said. “I have to take advantage of this opportunity that I have. This is a privilege, not a right. I don’t have any right to be in this race car more than anyone else. I have to earn it. I have to prove that I’m one of the best.

“There’s not a lot of job security for drivers in this sport. If you don’t succeed and do well, no matter what the circumstances are your name falls to the bottom of the list.”

Burton plans to major in business and possibly minor in sports marketing. If he’s unable to make a career as a race car driver, he still wants to work in the sport.  

“I have learned more from the experiences I’ve had racing … than I could anywhere else,” Burton said. “That’s something I will value forever.”

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, March 23 2019
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