Ex-pat Australian Funny Car team owners Robert and Lisa Schwab have once again enlisted the steady hand of veteran driver Phil Burkart Jr. to pilot their Dodge Charger R/T for the season-opening 57th annual Circle K NHRA Winternationals and a handful of other national events on the 2017 schedule.
The partnership is a continuation of the group’s first race together at the second Las Vegas race last year.
“We’re a new team with big dreams,” Robert Schwab said. “At this point we are figuring out how to compete at this level so selecting a veteran driver like Phil really helps us tune the car. He’s very steady and methodical in the driver’s seat so that removes many of the variables we deal with run after run.”
Schwab tunes his car with assistance from Terry Manzer.
Burkart has driven for numerous teams over the years, most notably with John Force Racing and Del Worsham Racing, where he made his professional debut. He has four Funny Car victories in nine final-round appearances.
“I’m honored Robert and Lisa trust me with their car,” Burkart said. “It’s certainly fun to be back out there racing again, knowing we have at least a partial schedule of events to run.
“Robert’s a really good guy trying to make a go of it and he has good equipment. We all got along really well in Vegas, which we kind of treated like a test session, and we were all encouraged by the results. I think we can really make a go of it in Pomona and the other races we have planned.”
Currently the team plans to enter national events in Pomona, Phoenix, Las Vegas 1, Topeka, Epping and Englishtown with additional sponsorship from Burkart Automotive.
“Of course we are searching for sponsors to help us expand the schedule,” Burkart said. “We believe we have a great package to offer a company that wants to reach this market and with the incredible up-tick in ratings NHRA had last year with FOX, the timing seems great. But we know it’s very hard to lockdown sponsors.
“If we come out and show our level of professionalism and our desire on the national stage, it will only help in our search. We’re very optimistic.”