NASCAR: Harrison Burton out at Wood Brothers Racing?

Harrison Burton landed his first full-time ride in the NASCAR Cup Series with Wood Brothers Racing, but his time with the team may be coming to an end.
Harrison Burton, NASCAR
Harrison Burton, NASCAR / James Gilbert/GettyImages

Harrison Burton landed his first full-time NASCAR Cup Series ride with the historic Wood Brothers Racing team in 2022. Prior to driving the No. 21 Ford, Burton made a name for himself in the Xfinity Series with Joe Gibbs Racing, piloting the No. 20 Toyota.

Burton was able to grab four wins in 2020 with Joe Gibbs Racing, but he went winless in 2021. However, he finished eighth in the point standings both seasons, and those results landed him a Cup Series ride the following year.

The Huntersville, North Carolina native was tabbed to be the replacement for Matt DiBenedetto for the 2022 season. While DiBenedetto made the playoffs for Wood Brothers Racing in 2020, he failed to repeat the following year and the team elected to go with a younger driver.

However, since Burton's arrival, not only has he failed to make the playoffs, he has also finished far worse in the point standings than DiBenedetto ever did with the team. In Burton's first year, he finished 27th in the points standings. Last year, he finished 31st. This year, he sits in 33rd through 13 races.

With Burton struggling, the Wood Brothers may be looking for a new driver in 2025.

According to Fox Sports' Bob Pockrass, Burton's return to Wood Brothers Racing seems ''unlikely at the moment.'' Pockrass added that Burton is in the last year of his contract with the Team Penske-affiliated Ford team.

The results unfortunately speak for themselves, and with just three top 10 finishes since July 2022, a departure may be on the horizon. With teams such as Stewart-Haas Racing possibly selling charters, a plethora of drivers in the Ford camp could become available for Wood Brothers Racing.

Wood Brothers Racing will ultimately have to look for other options if they want to get back to being playoff contenders.

Provided he finishes out the 2024 season, Burton would become the team's first driver to run three straight full seasons behind the wheel of the No. 21 Ford since Ricky Rudd from 2003 to 2005, but he has not produced, leaving the team still in pursuit of win number 100. Ryan Blaney earned their 99th win nearly seven years ago.

Given Wood Brothers Racing's technical alliance with Team Penske, winners of the two most recent NASCAR Cup Series championships, equipment shouldn't be an issue. They simply need a driver who is able to maximize.

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While Burton may have significant sponsorship backing from DEX Imaging, it may be time for him to look elsewhere for a home in NASCAR, and it may be time for Wood Brothers Racing to find a replacement for him in 2025.