Burkart's last lap heroics jump him into the field
Las Vegas, Saturday: Phil Burkart rolled to the starting line at dusk on Saturday, knowing full well he was outside of an historically quick field and he would need a near perfect effort to force his way into the field. He, and his blue Checker, Schuck's, Kragen team, not only pulled off the improbable, they launched the blue CSK Toyota all the way up to the lucky No. 13 spot with a clutch 4.804 on their last shot. Burkart will face Tommy Johnson in round one.
"That was nerve wracking as I care to experience, to be honest," Burkart said. "We have (CSK President) Martin Fraser here, along with a host of other CSK executives, and nothing would have crushed me more than not qualifying at this deal. There was just one problem, and it was a huge one. By the time we ran, the bump was getting to the point where you needed a huge effort just to slide into the field. You couldn't pedal it, you couldn't drop a cylinder, and you couldn't let it get out of the groove. It had to be clean, fast, and straight. It was a tough mountain to climb, but we did it.
"Martin Fraser gave me a big slap on the back, and almost having the wind knocked out of me never felt better. On Sunday, facing Tommy and his very fast car, we just have to focus on doing what we always do when we face a tough car. We have to go A-to-B and make them be perfect to beat us. That's what we plan to do."
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