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Burkart Defeats Capps, Scelzi, Force and Hight at Maple Grove Speedway to Win NHRA Funny Car

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At Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pennsylvania Phil Burkart won at the Toyo Tires Nationals. Burkart driver defeated Ron Capps in round one, defeated Gary Scelzi in round two, defeated John Force in the semi-final and defeated Robert Hight in the final.

Funny Car driver Burkart came into Sunday from the 12th spot and was matched with Ron Capps in round one. Capps, leading the POWERade points at the time was ready, but so was Burkart.

Funny Car Driver Phil Burkart, photo courtesy of delworsham.com
Funny Car Driver Phil Burkart, photo courtesy of delworksham.com

Burkart and CSK Team use K&N Filters, photo courtesy of delworsham.com
Burkart and CSK Team use K&N Filters, photo courtesy of delworhsam.com

“It’s been a while since I came to the track on Sunday with that special feeling, like something extraordinary was about to happen,” said Burkart. “We made two great laps in qualifying, and we knew there was more in the tank there. I really thought we had a chance to win a round or two, despite the fact that we had to race the points leader in the first round. I was zoned, and my whole team had an all business look about them.” Burkart tore away from the starting line with nearly a 2-hundredths advantage at the tree and was never behind in this race. He crossed the stripe with a strong 4.783 and Capps day was over.

In round two, Gary Scelzi lost traction and was left far behind. Burkart’s 4.816 was good enough to move him on to the semi-final.

During the semi, John Force was Burkart’s opponent. The two left almost together, Burkart’s edge at the tree was only one thousandth of a second. Force jumped out quickly to a lead and seemed to be pulling away. At half track, Force had engine trouble and Burkart’s Havoline/CSK Chevy took the lead. Burkart was on his way to the final round.

Phil Burkart
Phil Burkart


Burkart wins Maple Grove Raceway, photo courtesy of delworsham.com
Burkart wins Maple Grove Raceway, photo courtesy of delworsham.com
“They just kept throwing monsters at us, but we kept finding a way to take them out,” Burkart said. “Capps, Scelzi, Force, what more can you handle? We got by all of them, but we had Robert Hight in the final round. Part of you, a very small part, is happy just to be in the final, but most of your heart and your brain want to win.”

Burkart and Hight left the line together, and tire smoke instantly followed. “I hit the throttle, and almost right away it went up in smoke, but I saw Robert having the same problem,” said Burkart. “It was on, and I just kept feathering it. I hit it again and again, but all it would do was spin, so I grabbed he brake and kept laying my foot on the throttle as gently as I could. It finally started making headway.”

Burkart and his crew use K&N Engineering’s Premium Performance Gold Oil Filters. “The thick canister walls on the K&N Filters have extra strength and durability,” he said. “It reduces the risk of damage from debris on the race track. We wouldn’t dream of entering a race without K&N Filters.”

Burkart said a flood of emotions came over him at the finish line. “My dad was here, and he’s never see me win a race before, so that’s about as cool as it gets,” said Burkart. “Reading is the closest track to my home, so this is like winning in my own back yard. This is as good as it gets.”

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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