Pensacola Pit Pass: A Conversation with Jeff and Harrison Burton

Matt Weaver

Jeff Burton will introduce his son Harrison to the motorsports world this weekend as he makes his first start in the Snowflake 100. While the younger Burton has won several Pro Late Model races this season, the Snowball Derby weekend is the largest stage he has participated in.

PENSACOLA, Fla. -- The 2013 season was a learning experience for the 13-year-old son of Jeff and Kim Burton. But after his first full season at the Pro Late Model level, Harrison Burton is looking for a breakthrough achievement by winning the Snowflake 100 on Saturday night at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla.

In an exclusive video interview with Jeff and Harrison, the long-time Sprint Cup Series driver says he pushed his son to do other things than racing, not wanting to imprint his personal passion onto Harrison.

"No, I didn't want him to race at first," Jeff said. "I love racing and it's been good to me and my family. But it's my passion and not (Harrison's) or my daughter. I wanted to do my part to make sure it was his passion. He pushed us to it. He took it seriously and told his mom.

"We said no and he kept talking and talked his mom into it, which is something he is really good at. But I wanted to make sure he wanted to do it because he wanted to do it."

Having won 'the battle' to begin his own career, the younger Burton has shown the same tenacity for success that his father has employed on the way to 48 career NASCAR national touring series victories.

Harrison scored his first two Pro Late Model victories this season, driving in the PASS South Pro Late Model division, picking up twin victories at Dillon Motor Speedway in Dillon, SC. on Mar. 9 and Aug. 24.

And following a successful first race at Five Flags Speedway on Sept. 29, (he finished fourth in a race won by Chase Elliott), Harrison now has his sights set on announcing his arrival to the stock car racing community in a big way -- and by winning the Snowflake 100.

"Obviously, we'd like to win," Harrison said. "It would be huge for everyone on the team and a big deal to us. It's good to look at who you will race against when you get older. And we're going to race these guys when I get older in the Snowball Derby."

The elder Burton -- set to compete in a partial schedule for Michael Waltrip Racing in the Sprint Cup Series next season -- is fully committed to making Harrison's program a success. That means the chances of seeing the father and son compete against each other in a Super Late Model are surprisingly slim.

"The Late Model focus is about him," Jeff said of Harrison. "I considered racing in the Snowball Derby and he pushed me to do it but focusing on him is what we ought to be doing. I want to race with Harrison and not against him.

"We raced with Ward and it was hard sometimes.You want to be on the same team. So maybe every now and then I'll race... but my racing days have come and gone and the focus needs to be on him."

The complete interview with Jeff and Harrison Burton, conducted by SB Nation's Alanis King and Matt Weaver can be viewed below.


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