SMITH, WILKINS READY TO ROCK AT U.S. NATIONALS
Rock Racing Batteries Provides Support for in Funny Car, Top Sportsman Drivers
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – (Aug. 28, 2019) Paul Smith, who once finished second in the NHRA Funny Car driver standings (1974) before becoming one of drag racing’s most skilled crew chiefs, will banner North Carolina-based Rock Racing Batteries on his 2016 Dodge Charger at this week’s 65th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway.



The Smith-owned Dodge will be driven by veteran Phil Burkart Jr. of Yorkville, N.Y., a four-time NHRA tour winner who has spent the past several seasons racing in the Top Alcohol Funny Car division where he was runner-up to reigning World Champion Sean Bellemeur at three different events.

Burkart’s last tour win came at Reading, Pa., in 2006 when he was driving for Worsham Racing. He also won the Spring Nationals at Columbus, Ohio, in 1999 and both the spring race at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the Mile-High Nationals at Denver in 2004.

The Smith-Rock Batteries connection is a personal one. The now 73-year-old tuner has been friends with the company’s owner, Steve Earwood, with whom he shares strong Southern roots, for more than four decades.

After climbing out of the cockpit, Smith became one of the sport’s most successful “hired gun” crew chiefs. According to Earwood, “he’s who you’d call if you just had to get your race car qualified for a major event. No matter the conditions, he’s always been one of the guys who can adapt to whatever’s going on.”



In addition to his crew chief gigs, Smith and his racing sons, John and Mike, have operated a drag racing driving school in Florida which has focused on developing young talent.
Also flying the Rock Batteries banner at the Big Go will be the 1969 Camaro owned and driven by two-time Southeast Division Top Sportsman champion Sandy Wilkins of Mt. Ulla, N.C.
A three-time national event champion, Wilkins has finished as high as second in national Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series points (2017.

There are distributors for Rock Racing Batteries in nine states and Australia. The company’s featured battery is the 16-volt advanced AGM that delivers more cranking amps, more reserve minutes and more power with less weight.