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Burton Finishes Fifth In Daytona Duel Qualifying Race

Harrison Burton and the No. 21 Motorcraft/DEX Imaging Mustang Dark Horse are set to start Sunday’s Daytona 500 from 12th place after finishing fifth in the second Bluegreen Vacations Duel qualifying race on Thursday night.

In that 150-miler, Burton avoided significant damage in the “Big One” multi-car crash with 13 laps remaining then made a bid for the win on the final lap only to fall to fifth place at the finish line.

Burton started that qualifying race, the second of two that set the majority of the line-up for Sunday’s Great American Race, from fifth place.

He raced in the top 10 in the early going, and after dropping back a few positions, was back in the top 10 as a round of green-flag pit stops got under way.

Burton cycled into the lead before making his stop at Lap 44. He returned to the track in 15th place and was running there on Lap 47 when a wreck began unfolding ahead of him.

Burton, one of 11 drivers collected in the incident, was able to slow the Motorcraft/DEX Imaging Mustang and avoid race-ending damage. When the race resumed following a red-flag period, he made a pit stop then worked his way forward and ran as high as second place before winding up fifth. That earned him a good starting spot for the 500 and six Stage points.

“I had a real shot at it,” Burton told reporters after the race. “I’m really proud of our guys.”

Burton said he bounced off the wall in the big wreck, but the Motorcraft/DEX Imaging crew checked over his Mustang and determined it was safe to continue.

“I have a lot of confidence in that crew,” he said. “When they say my car is good to go, it’s good to go. Burton added that he thought he was in position on the last lap to take the win.

“I tried to get to the [Christopher Bell’s] outside, … with [Austin Cindric] pushing me and got really, really loose,” he said. “I thought I had plenty of momentum to make it happen, but I just got a little free there, but I’m really proud of our guys.

“We were a little damaged and still had a good car, so that’s how you know you have a really good car. Hopefully, we can see what’s wrong and it’s nothing major and we can go run this car in the 500 and try and win that one.”

Two practice sessions, the first on Friday at 5:35 p.m. and the second on Saturday at 10:30 a.m., will give the Motorcraft/DEX Imaging team a chance to fine tune the No. 21 Mustang Dark Horse.

The green flag for Sunday’s 200-lap Daytona 500 is set to fly just after 2:30 p.m., with Stage breaks planned for Laps 65 and 130.

FOX Sports 1 will televise the practices, with the coverage switching to FOX for the 500.

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