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Burton Pulls Away For New Smyrna Victory

Takes Super Late Model Win; Bertuccio Starts Strong In Mods
By Jason Christley, NASCAR
February 20, 2017 - 10:59pm

NEW SMYRNA, Fla. -- Harrison Burton wasn't going to be denied twice in a row.

The 16-year-old from Huntersville, North Carolina, led every lap en route to the Super Late Model Victory Monday in the 35-lap feature at New Smyrna Speedway. It was his first victory of the week at the 51st World Series of Asphalt Racing and comes on the heels of finishing second in last Friday's opening race.

The race was slowed for just one caution and set up a restart duel between a pair of NASCAR Next drivers: Burton and defending World Series champion Ty Majeski. The two ran side-by-side briefly for two laps before Burton was able to clear the 21-year-old from Seymour, Wisconsin.

"We had a really, really great restart there," said Burton. "And Ty raced me clean, which is awesome. It's fun to race people clean like that. We just got a great jump off the line, being the control car really helps a lot with that, and held him off as long as I could."

From there, Burton cruised to the win by .745 seconds.

"Tonight to get some redemption and get the checkered flag is awesome," said Burton, the son of former Monster Energy NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jeff Burton. "It's been an incredible ride. Hopefully we can keep some more wins going."

Stephen Nasse finished third, followed by Spencer Davis and Dalton Armstrong.

Davis, an 18-year-old from Dawsonville, Georgia, is also part of the 2016-17 NASCAR Next class -- an industry initiative designed to spotlight the sport's rising stars. Burton, Majeski and Davis help make up a stout field of some of the top young talent in stock car racing on display at New Smyrna this week.

Martin Latulippe, David Rogers, Brandon Watson, Jeff Choquette and Brad May rounded out the top 10.

On Friday, Davis led the entire way, while Burton charged from his 10th starting position, only to come up one spot short.

The Super Late Model division will be back Tuesday for a 50-lap extra-distance race.

"We've just got to keep working," said Burton. "Never stop working no matter how good you are. As good as this car was, we can still make it better. We've got great drive off. We just need to get through the center a little better and I'm confident that my guys can do that for me."

The tour-type Modifieds had their opening race of the World Series and the stacked field included a trio of drivers who are expected to contend for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour title this year in Ryan Preece, Justin Bonsignore and Timmy Solomito. But it was Long Island's JR Bertuccio who took home the first checkered flag.

Bertuccio grabbed the top spot from Jimmy Zacharias, the 2017 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series New York champion, and then fended off a late challenge from Ryan Preece to win at New Smyrna for the first time since 2002. Preece, the 2013 Whelen Modified champion, is the defending tour-type Modified champion at the World Series. Matt Hirschman got past Preece for second in the closing laps but was unable to get to Bertuccio. Jon McKennedy and 2011 Whelen Modified Tour champ Ron Silk were fourth and fifth, respectively.