Force Hood wins her second career race; Schumacher wins first without Alan Johnson; Krisher, Treble round out winners at the 22nd annual O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals BAYTOWN, Tex. -- Ashley Force Hood raced to her second career victory on...
Force Hood wins her second career race; Schumacher wins first without Alan Johnson; Krisher, Treble round out winners at the 22nd annual O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals
BAYTOWN, Tex. -- Ashley Force Hood raced to her second career victory on a record-setting day at the 22nd annual O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals Sunday at Houston Raceway Park.
The 26-year old Force Hood defeated her former drag racing instructor, Jack Beckman, to earn the win that vaulted her up from 10th to third place in the Funny Car standings. The other winners at the fourth of 24 races in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series were Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel), Ron Krisher (Pro Stock) and Craig Treble (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
"Our first win was against my dad (14-time NHRA champion John Force in the final round at Atlanta, 2008) ... so to be able to race against another team's driver in the final and win it, we're maybe a bit more cheerful than after that first win," said Force Hood, who ran a 4.122 at 306.19 mph in the final found to nose out Beckman's 4.227 at 303.43.
Schumacher's win -- a holeshot 3.881 at 314.75 (0.059 RT) in his U.S. Army dragster to Cory McClenathan's 3.880 at 313.66 (0.098 RT) in his FRAM dragster -- was his first of the season and the first for the U.S. Army team since parting ways with longtime crew chief Alan Johnson, who tuned the Army dragster to five straight NHRA Full Throttle Series Top Fuel world championships.
"Everyone knows we don't have (Alan Johnson) anymore, and people said we couldn't win without him, so we had to dig deep, and I love 'suck it up' moments -- bottom of the ninth, bases loaded -- and that's what we had all day," said Schumacher, who moved up from fifth place in the TF points all the way to second place with his 57th career win (breaking a tie with Joe Amato; he's now solo sixth place on the all-time NHRA wins list).
The victory celebration was perhaps made just a bit sweeter for Schumacher as he used another holeshot to defeat Larry Dixon in the Alan Johnson Al-Anabi Racing dragster in the semifinals -- 3.895 with a 0.082 RT to Dixon's 3.889 with a 0.104 RT.
"Winning on a holeshot, those are just numbers, man," Schumacher said. "Unless you have a great car that can leave like that, it doesn't mean anything, it takes the whole team. Take that exact same car with different pressure behind the barrel valve and it wouldn't leave at all. It's a group of guys doing a job and making me look good."
In Pro Stock, Krisher ran a solid 6.587 in his Valvoline Chevy Cobalt to defeat Jeg Coughlin's struggling 7.051 in his JEGS.com Chevy Cobalt.
"We did real good all day until the last round," Krisher said. "I let out the clutch and the car just spun and didn't go anywhere. We lost about six-hundredths to 60 feet and my light went right away with it. It was shaking and moving around, but I looked over and Jeggie was in worse shape than me so I decided I was going to stick with it."
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Craig Treble steered his Team Scream Suzuki to a 6.915 that was more than enough to beat the 7.260 from first-year rider Douglas Horne, (Aberdeen, Md.), who was making just his second career start.
"Running out of my own pocket, I originally I had planned on cutting it off after Atlanta, but this buys us some time to try to find some financial backing, probably through Madison," Treble said.
This race, though, may be remembered as much for what happened before the final rounds as what happened in the final rounds. Fans who were in their seats early witnessed two national records, a spectacular Top Fuel explosion (by European champion Urs Erbacher), the first heads-up duel between Larry Dixon and Tony Schumacher (won by Schumacher in the semifinals) and the third heads-up duel between Ashley Force Hood and John Force (won by Force Hood in the quarterfinals).
The new national records were set by Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) and Mike Edwards (Pro Stock). Smith broke Angelle Sampey's nearly two-year-old record for elapsed time when he ran a 6.865 in a second-round win over defending series champion Eddie Krawiec.
Mike Edwards set the new record for speed when he became the first Pro Stocker to surpass 212 mph with his 212.03 mph run in his semifinal loss to Ron Krisher.
The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Series resumes in a week with the April 2-5 SummitRacing.Com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.