Most disappointing NASCAR drivers in 2022: No. 4 – Harrison Burton
Many NASCAR fans get flack for making the case that Matt DiBenedetto should still be in the Cup Series. But at least DiBenedetto was able to finish in the top 10 behind the wheel of the #21 Ford semi-regularly.
Harrison Burton’s rookie season in the Cup Series has been nothing shy of a massive disappointment. His top finish is an 11th place finish in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and he sits in 28th in the standings.
Excluding Brad Keselowski’s 100-point penalty, that 28th would really be 29th, and he would be ahead of only Front Row Motorsports rookie Todd Gilliland, Spire Motorsports’ Corey LaJoie, and Rick Ware Racing’s Cody Ware, three driver/team combinations you’d expect any driver in relatively decent equipment to be well ahead of.
Meanwhile, DiBenedetto finished in 13th (playoffs) and 18th place in his two seasons with the Team Penske-affiliated Wood Brothers Racing before being replaced by the 21-year-old Huntersville, North Carolina native after the 2021 season.
Here’s an interesting statistic to note. In two seasons at Wood Brothers Racing, DiBenedetto’s worse season-long average finish was 16.9. In 18 races this year, Burton has only topped that finish on three occasions.
It’s not completely unexpected, either. Burton did win four races with Joe Gibbs Racing in the 2020 Xfinity Series season, but he went winless with the team last year. In 2019, driving for a top-tier Truck Series team in Kyle Busch Motorsports, he finished in 12th place in the championship standings, yet only 10 other drivers competed full-time.