Atlanta Tony Schumacher No. 4 after first day

Commerce, GA (May 5): Reigning NHRA Winston Top Fuel Champion Tony Schumacher and his Exide Batteries team finished the first day of qualifying for the Advance Auto Parts Southern Nationals in the No. 4 qualifying position. During the off...

Commerce, GA (May 5): Reigning NHRA Winston Top Fuel Champion Tony Schumacher and his Exide Batteries team finished the first day of qualifying for the Advance Auto Parts Southern Nationals in the No. 4 qualifying position.

During the off season, the Commerce, GA track resurfaced their quarter mile, which made the first round of qualifying a guess for many teams. "We expect it to be similar to the surface we ran on in Las Vegas," said Schumacher.

"It looks like it is one of the smoothest tracks we will race on this year."

Schumacher went out and started the day with a 4.670 ET at 316.97 MPH in the first qualifying session, which was good enough for No. 2. Schumacher's speed was almost 7 MPH faster than anyone in that session. "Dan (Olson - crew chief) has found some of our speed at the top end," said a satisfied Schumacher, "we are zeroing in on our tune-up."

Under the night sky of the second session, Schumacher had hoped to take advantage of the cool air and track surface. The car cruised down the 1320 feet surface side by side with Cory McClenathan to a 4.636 ET at 314.46 MPH. McClenathan ran a 4.633 ET to push Schumacher to the No. 4 position.

"The run was better than that," said Schumacher, "I was in the lights a little deeper than I should have been."

Leading the field into Day 2 of qualifying is Kenny Bernstein with a 4.601 ET, followed by Joe Amato's 4.614. Two more qualifying session are scheduled for Saturday in preparation for Sunday's final eliminations.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kenny Bernstein , Tony Schumacher , Joe Amato , Cory McClenathan