CSK Driver Phil Burkart Battles Heat at Bandimere Speedway

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Phil Burkart was solid at Saturday’s qualifying session at Bandimere Speedway in Denver. The Checker, Schuck’s, Kragen Monte Carlo driver held on to his No. 6 spot for race day.

On a weekend where 140-degree track temperatures were common, a blazing sun made watching from the stands a survival sport. Burkart and his team were consistent on Friday and Saturday. They entered eliminations with high hopes, but those hopes were tempered by a variety of equalizers.

K&N Flame Logo on Team Worsham Cars: Photo Courtesy of
K&N Flame Logo on Team Worsham Cars: Photo Courtesty of
Burkart paced Team CSK during qualifying, putting four solid laps on the board when many of the elite teams were happy to get from end-to-end just once or twice. His Friday night run, a strong 4.952, earned him a solid place in the top half of the field.

Burkart uses K&N Engineering Oil Filters (HP-5001) during the NHRA Racing Season. “The K&N Filter is absolutely optimal for the demands our race cars face,” said Team Worsham Manager Bob Wilber. “Time is crucial and the K&N Filter is easy to install, we literally spin it on with one hand and tighten it.”

“We ended up with a top-half position, so it’s not surprising that we were in the top half in both sessions,” said Burkart. “We just have a sold race car, and it’s doing what we ask it to do.”

However, Burkart ended his Denver weekend with his CSK completely sideways before bowing out to Eric Medlen in round one. No glory in this conclusion after a strong build-up.

“When it’s this hot, at any track, wild stuff will happen,” said Burkart. “Add in the fact we’re a mile high and then factor in the way the ladder lined up, with top-ranked cars scattered all through the 16-car filed, and all the match-ups looked like toss-ups to me. We knew we could run well, but we also knew the whole first round would be a total adventure.”

In fact, John Force managed no better than the 10th spot, while his teammate Eric Medlen landed 11th. Cruz Pedregon brought up the bottom of the sheet in the No. 16 position, while Gary Densham surprised the filed when he grabbed the No. 1 spot. With Burkart qualifying 6th, a first-round run with Medlen was scheduled.
K&N Filter on Team Worsham Car
K&N Filter on Team Worsham Car
“We had a bit of a long morning, chasing a leak in the fuel system,” said Burkart. We got it all sorted out about 15 minutes before the first pair of Top Fuelers. When you go through that sort of thrash, you hope it’s one of the indicators that everything is going to go your way. I was pretty pumped up. I just wanted to go out there and win the round.”

Burkart maintained his position at the flash of amber on Sunday. His .083 light gave him a big jump on Medlen, and the two took off for the far end as the heat waves glimmered above the very hot track. Burkart led at the first timer, but the cars were basically dead even by 330-feet. At that point, Burkart’s car made a wild move on the slick surface, and he quickly corrected to straighten the car out. Doing that, the rear end attempted to swap locations with the nose of the car, and the blue CSK Monte Carlo violently fishtailed. Burkart was able to calm the car down, bring it back straight and continue down the track without crossing the center line or hitting the wall, but the day was over.

“It got out there pretty far, but the guys told me we dropped a cylinder at the hit,” said Burkart. “Dropping holes here is nothing new, especially on dangerously hot days, but for some reason the car got very loose out there. You don’t have time to think, you just react. It got loose, I brought it back, and the rear end swung out wide. It was pretty sideways for a while, but I got it back again. That part was all instinct, and I’m glad we didn’t hit anything, but as soon as I was going straight again I saw Eric heading off into the distance and I knew we’d lost.”

Next, Burkart and his team head to Seattle.

Follow Phil Burkart's progress throughout the racing season at the K&N news site.  Find K&N products for your vehicle using the K&N application search then use the K&N dealer search to find a K&N dealer in your part of the world.

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K&N Engineering, Inc., with headquarters in Riverside, California, has been the world''s leader in performance filter technology since 1969, serving the needs of the automotive, motorcycle, marine, industrial and military markets. K&N is heavily involved in nearly every form of motorsports from off-road and powersports to drag racing, stock cars and road racing. For more information about K&N Filters, please contact K&N Engineering, Inc., P.O. Box 1329, Riverside, CA 92502-1329, (800) 213-4182 for a dealer near you, (800) 858-3333 for technical service/questions, (951) 826-4001 Fax, e-mail, or visit