Following a tremendous crash in Thursday practice for the Snowball Derby, Jeff Burton said he and his team stayed up all night to repair their Super Late Model so Harrison Burton would at least have the opportunity to qualify his way into the race come Friday night.
Something seemingly broke on the Dex Imaging No. 12 Toyota in Turns 3 and 4 during the fourth session on Thursday, and the 15-year-old snapped hard right and into the outside retaining wall as a result.
The elder Burton said the damage was severe and encompassed the entire right side.
This included the rear-end housing, rear clip, track bar mount, crossmember and right side bars. So immediately after the crash, Burton took the machine to Johanna Long’s shop just 10 minutes down the road from Five Flags Speedway and begun the lengthy teardown process.
The repairs were not finished until Friday morning and Burton says no one has had the chance to sleep since the crash at 3:00 p.m. Friday.
And yet, despite driving a car that was completely overhauled by a sleep-starved crew, Harrison Burton posted the 12th quickest time in final practice before qualifying.
“Well, he’s not happy with it by any means but it is hot right now,” Jeff Burton said. “Because of the differences in fixtures, we’re not exactly like we would be, you know what I mean? It’s like playing pin the tail on the donkey.
“When you hang a front snout at 2 in the morning … (Laughs) … Just know that everyone was remarkable. We’ve been rolling all day and hadn’t gone to sleep yet. We left their place and came here. No one went to the hotel, we’ve been digging.“
Burton said he was touched by the outpouring of support he and Harrison received from the Super Late Model community. At least five teams owner offered the Burtons a car, including Long, Bubba Pollard, Richie Wauters, Murray Timm and Larry Jones.
Even Joe Nemechek sent a text, offering to lend technical support.
“The Longs did what they did,” Burton said. “Hell, Hunter Robbins (a rival Super driver) was working with us until one in the morning. Johanna was with us. Joe texted me and asked if he could help. It was something.
“I had someone walk up to me, and bless, I hate to say it but I didn’t even know who he was, because (Harrison) had just wrecked the car. Anyway, he offered me a brand new Hamke car. People are just good, man.”
Next up for Burton is hoping his son qualifies into the Snowball Derby. Pole Day time trials is set to begin at 7 p.m ET and will air live on 51TV online Pay-Per-View.