Eastern Conference, Formula Atlantic
John Burke, of Rumson, N.J., started his 2013 Eastern Conference Formula Atlantic season later that some, joining the fray at the BFGoodrich Super Tour event at VIRginia International Raceway. He racked up 108 points in six races, scoring a win at Watkins Glen International Raceway and second-place finishes at Watkins Glen and New Jersey Motorsports Park in the Fast Pirate LLC Swift 014a/Toyota. Because of the scant number of races run in the conference, Burke was surprised when he was awarded the championship title.
“I would have to say the finale at Watkins Glen was my favorite race weekend,” Burke said. “Capturing a first and second at one of my favorite tracks is certainly up there, then being awarded the Eastern Conference Championship on the podium was a particular surprise. I had not entered all the conference races and had not been keeping track of the points, so it was a real shock to me. I initially thought they had made a mistake!”
The Formula Atlantic machines are notoriously finicky, and it was no exception for Burke. Engine troubles were a consistent problem for the team, but with hard work they were able to eek out the Eastern Conference title by one point.
“We had a bad string of engine failures that really kept our crew and engine builder busy,” Burke said. “Between my son, Connor, and me we had four engine failures over the last two race weekends. That's too many late nights changing engines!”
Burke couldn’t have made his 2013 championship run without a lot of help.
“Primarily I would like to thank my wife, Diane, for being such a good sport and supporting Connor and me in this endeavor,” Burke said. “Secondly, I would like to thank Kenneth Company and Mike Krol, our crew at Company Motorsports, for all the hard work they put in supporting us this season. They always keep our cars safe, fast and ready to race. Last, but not least, a special thanks to Mike Mallinen for his generous loan of an engine when we had used up all our spares. I used it at the June Sprints and also at Watkins Glen. Without it, I would not have won the championship.
“Winning the Majors Championship is really an honor as I have tremendous respect for the Formula Atlantic competitors in the Eastern Conference. They're a great, and fast, group of guys.”