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Harrison Burton is making history this season as the first driver born in the 21st century to compete full-time in the NASCAR Cup Series. So far, though, the season hasn’t been going the way he’d like it to and he’s not afraid to address that fact head-on.
After dominating the NASCAR Xfinity Series with impressive wins and placements for his last two seasons, he made the jump to the sport’s premier series where he is the first to admit he’s struggled to perform at the same level he did in the past.
“The first part of the year hasn’t gone how we wanted it to,” the 21-year-old told Auto Racing Digest ahead of his race at Richmond Raceway Sunday. “There’s no denying that. There are no rose-tinted glasses for that.”
He previously spoke on NBC Sports' "Motormouths" in May where he discussed the privilege it is to be so young in such a historic sport while also acknowledged he's been struggling to earn his place.
On Sunday, Burton went on to explain he, like everyone, hoped to see the story of the youngest NASCAR Cup Series driver ever burst onto the scene and dominate the old guard. However, he feels his wunderkind journey so far has been a “let down” thanks to “a lot of mistakes early.”
“I’m just trying to get better and better each weekend,” he explained. "If I could give it a grade, I wouldn’t give it a good one. I think we’ve got to run better. There have been a lot of missed opportunities on our end. I think of cars that we had that were fast and I made mistakes or just missing opportunities throughout the weekend to get decent finishes.”
Despite being realistic about his season so far, all hope is not lost. Burton is in good spirits when it comes to his NASCAR future thanks to some advice he got from a seasoned pro. The driver revealed that, early on in the season, he found himself on a flight with fellow “Race For The Championship” star and Cup Series competitor, Joey Logano.
Logano reminded him the sport is difficult, but he’s standing head and shoulders above other 21-year-olds. Now, Burton says he's doing everything he can to take that advice and recognize this tough rookie start as a stepping stone to greatness rather than his one shot at it.
“You don’t want to pick yourself apart, but you also need to know what you could have done better," Burton concluded. "That’s a balance. I tend to be really hard on myself and want to be the best I can be, so every mistake I make, I kind of wear it on my sleeve.”
You can catch more NASCAR content on Peacock right now and watch "Race for the Championship" on USA Network, premiering Sept. 1.
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