Pressure mounting for KBM youth movement to develop

CHARLOTTE, NC - MAY 17: (L-R) Harrison Burton, driver of the #18 Safelite AutoGlass Toyota, and Todd Gilliland, driver of the #4 Mobil 1 Toyota, talk in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 17, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Kyle Busch Motorsports teammates Todd Gilliland and Harrison Burton conceded they feel a lot of pressure to win driving a pair of the best trucks in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series this year. However, they maintain, the pressure is from within. … not necessarily with their superstar team owner Kyle Busch, who has been vocal in urging his young proteges along.

The 18-year old Burton, son of retired NASCAR star Jeff Burton, has four top-10 and six top-11 finishes through the opening eight races of the year driving the No. 18 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota.  His best finish is a third place at Dover and he’s ranked ninth in the championship.

The 19-year old Gilliland, son of NASCAR star David Gilliland, has four top-10 finishes in the No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota truck, including a best of third place at Kansas two races ago. He’s ranked eighth in the championship standings. He finished fourth in the truck race here last Fall – a best ever showing in Fort Worth.

Burton told reporters Thursday at Texas Motor Speedway in advance of Friday night’s that he completely understands his owner Busch’s frustrations at the two – who tangled together in the Daytona season-opener. But he also understands and appreciates where Busch is coming from. He recognizes that to be a better driver you have to ask for advice and be open to criticism.

And always learning.

“At this level of the sport, you have to be very pro-active especially at a young age,’’ Burton said. “You have to ask a lot of questions.

“You have to make it happen in a short amount of time and it’s tough,’’ Burton explained. “If it were easy, everyone would do it. If there weren’t times like this everyone would be a seven-time champion.

“It’s about who comes through these times, gets motivated by these and starts kicking butt again basically. That’s my mindset anyway.’’

Greg Engle