USA Network’s “Race For The Championship” has highlighted numerous drivers, such as Kyle Busch and Joey Logano. Rookie Harrison Burton is among this group, and he embraced the opportunity to provide a new look at NASCAR.
Burton, the son of Jeff Burton, is no stranger to cameras. He has been around them his entire life while rising up the racing ranks. Having them follow him around during his time away from the track is something new, but it provided some much-needed exposure for what drivers go through on a weekly basis.
“I think the biggest struggle for our sport is how does somebody know what it’s like?” Burton asked during a conversation with Heavy. “Right? You can go throw a football and then watch Patrick Mahomes pass and think, ‘Wow, that’s unbelievable.’
“Not everyone can go to a race track and drive into a corner at 190 miles an hour and try and be the best in the world doing that and think, ‘Wow, what those guys are doing is really hard. That’s cool.'”
As Burton explained, he has firsthand experience with meeting people from other sports, which directly contributed to him becoming a fan. His hope is that viewers will have this same experience while watching the USA Network show.
Burton wants these fans to see the drivers going about their personal lives and then become invested in the racing and their careers. Having the differences between him and other drivers highlighted only helps.
Burton Filmed a Lot of Content During This Process
Burton’s portion of the episode featured two main storylines. The first was his continued growth as a driver heading toward races at Circuit of the Americas and Martinsville Speedway. The second was his personal life and his relationship with his girlfriend, Jenna Petty.
The cameras followed Burton for a considerable amount of time, but there were some moments that did not make the final episode. This included a meal with Petty’s parents. Instead, the episode featured a moment where Burton went through some foot positions at a dance studio.
“I figured that they would put the dancing video in there, for sure, because they knew it would probably be funny to watch,” Burton said. “I struggle to do that stuff. What I was doing wasn’t dancing, it was just the fundamentals of dancing, right, and I struggle with that.”
Burton doesn’t know if any of the other moments will see the light of day or if he will be a key part of future episodes. Though he will make some cameo appearances considering that he was around other drivers as they filmed content.
The Episodes Provided New Information for Burton
There are multiple benefits of highlighting the teams and drivers of NASCAR in a documentary series. The in-depth look at their preparation provides a greater understanding of the sport. Similarly, the glimpses of their lives at home and their respective personalities help the fans better connect with them.
Burton is a fitting example. The episode featuring him showed off his goofier side and his friendship with fellow rookie Todd Gilliland as he interrupted a social media video, stole a cowboy hat from the driver of the No. 38, and wore it over his own hat.
The episode also showed how intense Burton can be while battling handling issues or trying to decompress from a difficult race. He specifically mentioned that he was still mad about some struggles at Martinsville even though this race took place back in April.
Interestingly enough, Burton learned more information about his fellow drivers while watching “Race For The Championship.” He saw different sides of them than what he has encountered during the 2022 Cup Series season.
“I knew that [Joey Logano]’s wife was ‘my hot a** wife’ in his contacts,” Burton said. “I’ve seen her call him, and I’ve seen that before so that one was not new, but I laughed when they showed that. But it’s interesting to see guys in situations other than in the racecar. I think, for me, I know how they are on the racetrack and I have my opinions about every single person I’ve raced against. I’ve had an experience whether it be really good or really bad or in between. It’s all of them.
“When we’re at the most, I guess, pressure situation that we’re in every day throughout the week tends to be in the race car. That’s when I feel the most stressed out. That’s when I feel like I have to go do the job, and I really don’t care much about how other people feel about what happened.
“Then you go and watch guys at home that aren’t in that situation, and you’re just like, ‘Oh, that guy’s a nice guy.’ In the race car, you’re like, ‘I want to punch this guy.’ Or maybe he’s super calm on the racetrack. But it’s interesting to see them outside of the racetrack and just try and understand who they are outside away from it all.”