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Burkart back in Funny Car with two Pennsylvania-based companies READING, Pa. (Oct. 1) -- Veteran Funny Car driver Phil Burkart Jr. will return to professional drag racing for the first time since filling in for the injured John Force in the...

Burkart back in Funny Car with two Pennsylvania-based companies

READING, Pa. (Oct. 1) -- Veteran Funny Car driver Phil Burkart Jr. will return to professional drag racing for the first time since filling in for the injured John Force in the fall of 2007. The 42-year-old, four-time national event winner has signed a one-race deal to compete at the upcoming 26th annual Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in eastern Pennsylvania.

Returning to an event he won in 2006 when driving for Del Worsham, Burkart will be flying the colors of two Keystone State companies -- most notably, Boninfante Performance Clutch Parts of Yeadon, Pa., which will receive title signage for its new VR750 Clutch Grinder on Burkart's Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Sheetz Electrical Contractors of Harrisburg, Pa., will also provide support, as will Midtown Autoworld of Herkimer, N.Y.

"I'm extremely anxious to get back in a Funny Car and race," Burkart said. "It seems like it's been forever. I've been driving a lot of different cars over the past few years, just not at the top level of the sport.

"Nick Boninfante is a great friend, a fellow racer with nitro in his veins, and he's giving me a chance to do something very special. I'm going to savor every moment because I know how precious these times can be. That's the same motivation we're going to use to run well -- we won't want the weekend to end."

Burkart will be driving Paul Smith's Funny Car, which he's piloted at several match races in the last three seasons. Smith and his son John will tune the car. The last time Burkart drove for the Smiths they reached the final round at the '07 Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla., and came within .09 seconds of taking the trophy.

"It's a good car and Paul knows what he's doing," Burkart said. "I don't think anyone will take us for granted. They know what we can do, and with the championship battles in full swing, we're hoping to get in there and mix things up a bit."

Boninfante and Burkart have been racing together quite a bit over the past few years with Burkart piloting Boninfante's U.S. Male Nostalgia Funny Car, a hot rod that runs 5.8 second passes at 248 mph.

-source: phil burkhart jr PR

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Series NHRA
Drivers Del Worsham , John Force , Phil Burkart , Paul Smith