It was the right call, but it just didn’t work out for Harrison Burton on Sunday night in the Snowball Derby.
The 18-year-old was leading with 21 laps to go when Kyle Bryant spun at the entrance to Turn 3. Burton was the only driver amongst the leaders that had already used his entire allotment of Hoosier Racing Tires.
His last stop came with 76 to go right after Stephen Nasse crashed in Turns 3 and 4, and the caution essentially ended their chance to contend.
Crew chief Chris Wimmer says he had no choice but to call his driver in when they did because they had lost a little bit of speed on that last run and also needed a different strategy to offset the lost track position they were giving on pit road due to their usage of wide-five wheel hubs.
“We were on the wide-fives we were on all year and they were just slower on the pit stops,” Wimmer said. “The KBM guys were killing us on pit road and we had to do something different. I had no choice. If we had tires, the best we could have come out is fifth.
“I had to make that call and it almost worked out.”
Burton chose the outside on a restart with 16 laps to go and it didn’t work out, spinning his old tires and resulting in a chain reaction that saw Bubba Pollard spin off the nose of Ty Majeski’s Ford. However, since a lap was not completed, Burton would get one more chance to hold off Noag Gragson.
That didn’t work either as Gragson pulled away with the win and Burton ultimately fell to 10th.
“We had a really good car, but not enough to pass those guys because track position is so important here,” Burton said. “We figured the only way we were going to win was to do something different, so we tried it.”
Burton just wishes the Bryant spin hadn’t happened.
“It almost worked out,” Burton said. “I don’t know what caused that last caution. It got spaced out, and I told myself this might work, but it all went away. The caution came out, we were on old tires and you have no grip here, especially against stickers.
“I’m proud of my guys and they worked hard. Chris did a great job, and I’m ready to get back in a car. I don’t know if I can wait until Daytona so hopefully we can race at Cordele next month.”