For Harrison Burton and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team, the goal for this weekend’s season-ending NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race at Phoenix Raceway is to build on their Martinsville run and end the season on the upswing.
Last Sunday at Martinsville Speedway, Burton and the No. 21 team recovered from a mid-race setback that put them two laps down and raced their way to a 15th-place finish. Crew chief Jeremy Bullins is looking for another strong run this weekend in the season finale.
“I’m super proud of the way we battled last week at Martinsville,” Bullins said. “We made some spots early but got trapped on the outside for a while and hurt our right-rear tire and got loose at the end of Stage One. We wound up getting spun out battling to stay on the lead lap.”
But they didn’t let the set-back hold them down for long.
“We did what you have to do,” he said. “We stayed in the game all day, and got ourselves in position to come back for a top 15.”
The veteran crew chief said that was just what the team needs at this point.
“Races like that are the momentum we need as we keep building toward 2024,” he said. “I think we can do the same this weekend in Phoenix.”
Bullins said he’s encouraged by the way Burton raced at a similar track, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, in July, when he scored a top-20 finish.
“Harrison ran really well at Loudon earlier this year, and I think we can do the same at Phoenix,” Bullins said. “It’ll be an exciting season finale and hopefully a good finish for our Wood Brothers Ford and a championship for RB and everyone at Team Penske.”
Practice for the Cup Series Championship Race is set for 5:05 p.m. local time (8:05 p.m. Eastern Time) on Friday, with qualifying scheduled to start at 1:35 p.m. (4:35 Eastern) on Saturday.
USA Network will carry the TV coverage of practice and qualifying.
Sunday’s 312-lap race on the one-mile oval is set to get the green flag just after 1 p.m. (3 p.m. Eastern Time), with TV coverage on NBC.
Stage breaks are planned for Laps 60 and 185.