Harrison Burton and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team are optimistic headed into this weekend’s Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, and with good reason.
For starters, they had a good run in the inaugural Clash, which is held on a temporary course inside the famed stadium. The team also is encouraged by the way it ended last year’s Cup Series season with a flurry of good finishes. To top it all off Burton is fresh off a win in an IMSA sports car race on the road course at Daytona International Speedway.
“Last year’s Clash was a great event for the industry and for the No. 21 Ford,” said crew chief Brian Wilson, who like Burton is heading into his sophomore season in NASCAR’s elite division. “Transferring into the main event was a huge accomplishment for our young team.”
“We’re looking to build from that and on the momentum we had to end 2022.”
Wilson said the entire Motorcraft/Quick Lane organization was heartened by the late-season improvement, which was backed up by race statistics.
“Coming off the end of the season, everyone was excited with our step forward in competitiveness,” he said. “In three of the last four races we qualified in the top-10. This was a great sign that our hard work was paying off.”
Once the final checkered flag of 2022 had flown, Wilson and the team did a more thorough evaluation of their season, and liked what they saw.
“After the first four races in 2022 our average finish was 29th,” he said. “In the last four races it was 19th.
“That’s a large step forward in a highly competitive field. You could also see progress when you looked quarter by quarter at our stats.”
“At the end of the year everyone could feel the change in performance, but it’s always good to see the numbers back that up.”
Wilson added that last week’s win by Burton at Daytona, where he teamed with fellow Ford driver Zane Smith to win the Michelin Pilot Challenge event. Burton took the checked flag over veteran sports car racer Spencer Pumpelly, making him and Smith the first NASCAR regulars to get the victory in that race.
“Harrison’s win in his Mustang was another boost of confidence, Wilson said. “The Wood Brothers team is excited to get to the track and continue to improve on where we ended 2022.”
Practice for the Busch Light Clash is set for Saturday from 3-5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time (6-8 p.m. Eastern), to be followed by single-car qualifying. Both will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1.
Sunday’s program starts at 2 p.m. (5 p.m. Eastern) with four 25-lap heat races followed by two 50-lap last chance races.
The 150-lap main event begins at 5 p.m. Pacific (8 p.m. Eastern), with Sunday’s coverage on FOX.