For the next 20 days, we’ll take a look at 20 drivers who we expect to break out in the 2020 racing season. Check out all of our 20 in ’20 posts right here!
WHO: NASCAR Xfinity Series driver #20, Joe Gibbs Racing
2019 RESULTS: 12th, NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series, 707 points; 23 starts, 7 top-5s, 11 top-10s
Points ineligible, NASCAR Xfinity Series; 9 starts, 1 top-5, 5 top-10s
21st, ARCA Menards Series, 1240 points; 6 starts, 1 win 3 top-5s, 5 top-10s
WHY HE’S ON THE LIST: The son of longtime NASCAR star and current NBC broadcaster Jeff Burton, Harrison Burton has always been seen as perceptive beyond his years—just look up how maturely he dealt with an angry Rich Bickle after a wreck in this year’s Snowball Derby. That’s a big part of why he’s being promoted to full-time status in one of Joe Gibbs Racing’s NASCAR Xfinity Series cars for 2020 after just one full season in a Kyle Busch Motorsports truck. Even though Burton missed the playoffs last year and didn’t win in his time at KBM, he strung together plenty of solid finishes, including a stretch of five top-five runs in six races, and it all came in the midst of Busch publicly expressing frustration with his younger drivers falling short of victory lane.
Even as he steps into the ride that Christopher Bell repeatedly parked in victory lane last year, Burton’s ability to handle adversity should serve him well. He finished fourth at Iowa in just his second career Xfinity start last season, and after back-to-back DNFs at Dover and Kansas late in the year, he rebounded with two top-10s at Texas and Homestead to close out 2019 on a high note. Driver development takes time, but don’t expect Burton to crack under the weight of expectation.