Harrison Burton steered the No. 21 DEX Imaging Mustang clear of several late-race incidents to post an 18th-place finish in Monday’s rain-delayed Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
It was his second top-20 finish in a row and his sixth in the 14 races run this season.
Burton and the No. 21 team were racing to honor the memory of the late Sgt. Shawm Dunkin who was on his second tour of duty in Iraq on Feb. 19, 2007, when he died from injuries suffered when his vehicle was struck by a bomb.
Burton lined up for Monday’s marathon from 13th place as the starting spots were determined by metrics after rain on Saturday washed out both practice and qualifying.
He was running 20th when the Competition Caution flag flew at Lap 35 and 25th when the first of three Stages ended a Lap 100.
In the second Stage, he ran as high as third place while running long on a pit-stop sequence at the midpoint but ended that 100-lap segment in 26th place, one lap off the pace.
He and the DEX Imaging team were able to use the wave-around in the third Stage to rejoin the lead lap and wound up 21st at the 300-lap mark.
The final 100 laps of the race saw Burton and the DEX Imaging team work their way forward and were able to line up 12th for a restart with just under 40 laps left to run.
But a car spun sideways and into Burton’s path on the restart. He pitted for new tires and rejoined the race in 27th place.
Several caution flags ensued and Burton steered clear of contact and worked his way back into the top 20.
He held on for 18th place as his Ford teammate Ryan Blaney, whose No. 21 Team Penske crew shares a technical alliance with the Wood Brothers team, took his Mustang to Victory Lane. Blaney’s win gives team owner Roger Penske wins in both of the Memorial Day classics – the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 – in the same year, a first for Penske.
Up next for Burton and the Wood Brothers team is the Enjoy Illinois 300 at World Wide Technology Raceway near St. Louis.