Phil Burkart Preparing for NHRA Summit Racing Nationals in Las Vegas
In 2004, Phil Burkart went to Las Vegas just beginning his tenure as the
full-time driver of the blue Checker, Schuck’s, Kragen Funny Car. He entered the
Vegas event outside the POWERade top ten with a 2-3 record. When he left the
track on Sunday night, his record was 6-3, he was in 5th place in POWERade
points, and he had a trophy under his arm.
This week, Burkart will again bring his blue Checker, Schuck’s Kragen
Monte Carlo to “The Strip” at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but when he begins
qualifying on Friday, it will be from a much different perspective. In 2004 and
2005, Burkart and his team were struggling when they arrived in Las Vegas. The
big win in 2004 turned things around and sent Burkart on his way to the only top
ten finish of his career, but last year a first round loss and a devastating
engine explosion dropped Burkart out of the top ten.
In 2006, things are very different. Burkart has the same crew, the same car, and
much of the same equipment. He sits 4th in the POWERade points, and has
consistently managed to win at least one round at every race to this point.
“It’s hard to put your finger on what we’ve done, but things are different
around here,” Burkart said. “We’ve maximized our good stuff, minimized our
mistakes and made the most of what we’ve done. To this point, no one on this
team thinks we’ve even hit our stride yet, but we’re hanging around near the top
of the points and we’re beating some very good teams. We can still improve, and
we plan to get a little bit better this weekend.”
Phil Burkart and his blue Checker, Schuck’s Kragen Funny Car team use K&N oil
filters (HP-5001). The K&N filter is absolutely optimal for the demands that our
race cars face, said Worsham Team Manager Bob Wilber.
So far this season, Burkart has recorded a win over defending POWERade champ
Gary Scelzi, along with victories over past champions John Force and Cruz
Pedregon. All he’s missing is a win over Tony Pedregon to have beaten every
Funny Car champion since 1990, and this season is only four races old. If he
lines up next to Tony Pedregon on Sunday April 9th in Las Vegas, you can place
your bets on Burkart having no thought about his opponent or the other champs he
has defeated, according to Wilber. Instead, Burkart will only be focusing on his
job, and the race track.
K&N Filter on Team Worsham car
“We manage to beat some very tough opponents around here, not just his year but
the last couple of years too,” Burkart said. “To do that, you can’t be thinking
its John Force over there, or Gary Scelzi, or whoever it is. You have to think
of what the track will give you, and I have to think of what I can do to help
the team as the driver.”
Burkart plans on doing the best possible job he can inside the car. “It’s more
than just good reaction times, it’s also being ahead of the car, in control of
things, and cool under pressure,” he said.
Follow Phil Burkart's progress throughout the racing season at the
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