Instead, he and the CSK Team spent two days dealing with qualifying drama and then had to live through a first round battle that took place behind a smoke screen.
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.”
Saturday’s first run came after a brief but heavy downpour and Burkart made his first full pull of the event, clocking in with a steady 5.014. The CSK Team had a solid baseline for tuning but Burkart’s teammate, Del Worsham, was still behind him on the sheet.
“It’s not a good feeling to be the second pair in the final session, knowing your teammate and boss needs to bump you out,” said Burkart. “When it’s someone else behind you, it’s hard not to hope they don’t make it, but when it’s Del doing the bumping, you have to hope he does it. Then, we’d just have to come right back and bump our way back in. It was a pretty simple concept, and we did it.”
Worsham’s 4.93 was enough to bump Burkart out, but seconds later the Havoline Chevy posted a strong 4.891 and Burkart was back in. In the end, both teammates were part of the race on Sunday.
Burkat landed in the No. 13 spot and had to face a much quicker car in round one. That car was piloted by Tony Pedregon, who qualified 4th with a 4.812.
At the start, Burkart’s machine lurched forward and then almost immediately went up in tire smoke. His crew’s view was obscured behind the line with the “white wall” which hides the race car, and usually means a loss.
“We saw tire smoke, figured we were dead ducks and began to walk away,” said CSK Co-Crew Chief Marc Denner. “I heard pedaling going on, but I figured it was Phil giving chase even though Tony was pulling away. I looked over and saw both cars in tire spoke. Tony was way out on us, but it looked like he was dead in the water. Phil was closing in fast, but ran out of room.”
“It went up in smoke as I hit the throttle,” said Burkart. “When I hit again, I saw Tony’s tire smoke, and even though we were way behind, I know how much these cars can make up if the tires hook back up again. I think I pedaled the car six times, but it would never hook up and all I could do was blaze it down there.”
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