Harrison Burton and the No. 21 Motocraft/Quick Lane Mustang are set to start 25th in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race at Phoenix Raceway. Burton took that spot with a lap at 131.286 miles per hour in qualifying Saturday afternoon.
In practice on Friday, Burton was 14th fastest, with a best lap at 129.744 mph. He posted that speed on the third of 55 laps run in the session. Among drivers who ran 10 consecutive laps he was 22nd best, averaging128.371 mph from his 15th through 24th laps.
When Burton and his fellow drivers strap in for Sunday’s championship-deciding season finale they’ll get the command to fire engines from a group that includes Giselle Hicks, a fourth-generation member of the Wood Brothers racing family.
Hicks is part of a group of four former Cup Series champions and four young racers who will share the duties.
Hicks is the nine-year-old great granddaughter of the Wood Brothers team founder, the late Glenn Wood. Her dad, Michael Hicks, also is a racer as he’s a tire changer on the No. 20 of championship contender Christopher Bell.
Hicks, now in her third year in the sport, races a wing kart and finished fourth in points this year at MillbridgeSpeedway in North Carolina. She has multiple wins to her credit.
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.