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Burkart Pulls Through for Team CSK after Worsham's Terrible Crash at NHRA Finals

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Phil Burkart started his season at Pomona Raceway nine months ago by reaching the semi-final round before bowing out. In November, he capped his season the same way he started it, with another semi-final finish on the same Pomona track.

During the season, Burkart had a total of 17 round wins and a victory in Reading. It added up to an 8th place finish in POWERade points, a career best for the driver from New York.

Del Worsham back on track after horrifying crash the previous day
Del Worsham back on track after horrifying crash the previous day

Del Worsham and CSK Team Manager Bob Wilber add padding to the driver seat of Worsham's car after the crash.
Del Worsham and CSK Team Manager Bob Wilber add padding to the driver seat of Worsham's car after the crash
At the Auto Club NHRA Finals, Burkart was focused on finishing well, but like every member of Team CSK he was also caught up in the wreck his teammate, Del Worsham suffered on Friday.

Worsham’s car was barreling down the track when it quickly dropped two cylinders on the right side at the 1,000 foot mark. Almost immediately, the motor exploded and the blast crumpled the red CSK body, folding it up in front of Worsham’s line of sight and making the parachute levers impossible to reach.

After hitting the wall once, then scraping along for another 100 feet, he plowed into the sand trap at a high rate of speed. When the nose of the Monte Carlo dug into the sand, the car somersaulted, end over end, through the air for about 40 yards, before landing on its roof atop the first catch fence. After that impact, the car kept barrel rolling, making at least one more flip before landing on its wheels behind the second catch fence. Worsham walked away, and after a brief hospital stay returned to the track Saturday.

Phil Burkart racing in round 2 of eliminations and winning against Gary Densham
Phil Burkart racing in round 2 of eliminations and winning against Gary Densham
Phil Burkart waving to the crowd during driver introductions
Phil Burkart waving to the crowd during driver introductions
Despite the overwhelming emotion felt by every member of the team, Burkart and has crew put their best work on the track, including a strong 4.774 during Saturday’s first qualifying session.

“This whole field was so strong, it was like pick your poison from top to bottom,” said Burkart. “We ran well in qualifying, really well, and we came into the race 12th. We had Eric Medlen from the John Force camp in round one. That’s one of those things where you figure you need a perfect lap to beat him. We weren’t going up there to set a career best or try to run something we aren’t really capable of running, we were just trying to put a good lap on the board.”

Burkart powered to a 4.789 to take the win and perk up his whole team, who had just seen Worsham’s weekend come to a close with a heartbreaking loss to Gary Densham.

“Del was the emotional favorite,” said Burkart. “To come back from what he went through, to even get back in his car with a broken tail bone, you just had to envision him winning the race. We were all bummed to see him lose, and of course it was just the latest loss by inches, in a season full of losses by inches. I was hoping we could keep the season going for Team CSK.”

In round two, Burkart lined up against Densham for a shot at the semis. Both drivers left the line nearly together, but Densham boiled his tires while Burkart took off down the track. The season continued.

In the semi-final Burkart’s opponent was Jack Beckman. Beckman raced to a 4.74, but a tire spin and a loss of power ended Burkart’s day.

Phil Burkart ended up 8th in the field of Funny Cars. “I think that says a lot,” he said. “We have a lot of momentum to build on, and we are all looking forward to 2007.”

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 which reduce the risk of damage to the engines from debris on the race track.

Follow Team CSK'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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