BURKART WILL DRIVE FORCE'S CAR DURING LAS VEGAS TEST SESSION 14-Time Champion Could Leave Dallas Rehab Facility by Week's End DALLAS, Texas -- After consulting with crew chiefs, sponsors and other key team members, 14-time NHRA ...
BURKART WILL DRIVE FORCE'S CAR DURING LAS VEGAS TEST SESSION
14-Time Champion Could Leave Dallas Rehab Facility by Week's End
DALLAS, Texas -- After consulting with crew chiefs, sponsors and other key team members, 14-time NHRA Funny Car Champion John Force announced Monday that Phil Burkart Jr. will be in the cockpit of the Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang for three days of open testing beginning Tuesday at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Burkart will join Countdown to One qualifier Robert Hight, Rookie-of-the-Year contender Ashley Force and rookie-to-be Mike Neff in John Force Racing Ford Mustangs during three days of open testing on the same track that next week will play host to the ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals.
"For right now, with the approval of Castrol and our other sponsors, Phil Burkart will be driving my car in testing only," Force said from his room at Baylor University Rehabilitation Center, where he continues to recover from hand, leg and foot injuries suffered in a Sept. 23 crash at the Texas Motorplex.
"Burkart was the best fit for us," Force said. "He's about my size, he's experienced and he was available (but) no decisions will be made about which (of our) teams will be running the Las Vegas Nationals until after testing. We'll make that call after I talk to the crew chiefs."
Force also confirmed that if he continues to progress at his present rate, his doctors plan to release him for travel home to Southern California this Saturday.
"My brother Walker is trying to find a place in Orange County where I can continue to do my physical therapy," Force said. "I told him I want to work with some young people who'll push me. That's what I need to do to get back in my race car and nothing's more important to me right now than that. If everything goes well, I'll come back to Dallas in four to six weeks for them to remove the pins from my (left) hand.
"I want to apologize to the fans. I know I said I was gonna drive at Richmond, but that was mainly the drugs talking. I know now that I'm not going to drive the rest of this year. My real goal the last two weeks was to make it to Vegas," Force said, "and that's what I'm gong to do. All my cars have been re-done at Murf McKinney's with the latest changes and I want to thank Murf and his staff for all their extra work. I can't wait to get back to the races. That'll be the best therapy."