By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Atco, N.J. — Permatex/Follow A Dream Top Alcohol Funny Car pilot Phil Burkhart Jr. won the Top Alcohol Funny Car Wally at the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series in the Northeast Division on Saturday at Atco Dragway. Burkhart Jr. defeated Dan Pomponio in the final round.
Burkhart Jr. went 5.563 at 264.91 mph to get the win. Pomponio, the Berlin, New Jersey native, went 5.921 at 195.51 mph.
“We struggled early, but we went to the final round at Lebanon Valley in the last Divisional race,” Burkhart Jr. said. “We felt like we were over the hump of our struggles from earlier in the year, so We didn’t come in here feeling we were troubled at all. We just came here to win.”
This was the first-time that Pomponio went to the final round at his home track.
In addition, this was the second straight NHRA Northeast Division event that Pomponio and Burkhart Jr. faced each other in the final round. Pomponio won in the last meeting, as he won at Lebanon Valley Dragway in West Lebanon, New York on July 1st.
Also, with the win, Burkhart Jr. has won at Atco Dragway for the second straight year. He defeated Aryan Rochan in the final round last year. Rochan went to the final round in his debut event at the facility.
In the five-year history of the event in South Jersey, Burkhart Jr. is the second Top Alcohol Funny Car driver to win two events. D.J. Cox Jr. also won this event in 2014 and 2016.
Mathew Gill also has an event win in 2015. Cox did not participate in this year’s event, as he recovers from a horrific crash at Lebanon Valley Dragway in the semifinals against Pomponio.
“It’s awesome to win here back-to-back at Atco” Permatex/Follow A Dream team owner Jay Blake said. “It’s a pivotal point in the regional point series, so it’s really big. We’re racing for the regional championship and we have a shot at it. It’s really awesome for the whole team, as it’s a team effort.
“It’s a very rewarding win, because this year has been an extreme struggle on many different levels. The team has worked through those struggles, and they never gave up. We’re here in the Winner’s Circle at Atco, because the team never gave up. Phil drove no matter what the car did. He gave it his all. Nobody ever gave up. The car has been rounding the corner and it’s been getting better and more consistent. It’s awesome to win here.”