Brainerd: Friday qualifying report

SCHUMACHER, MEDLEN, ANDERSON AND HINES ARE QUALIFYING LEADERS AT LUCAS OIL NHRA NATIONALS BRAINERD, Minn. -- Two-time and defending POWERade World Champion Tony Schumacher led all Top Fuel competitors Friday at the 24th annual Lucas Oil NHRA...

SCHUMACHER, MEDLEN, ANDERSON AND HINES ARE QUALIFYING LEADERS AT LUCAS OIL NHRA NATIONALS

BRAINERD, Minn. -- Two-time and defending POWERade World Champion Tony Schumacher led all Top Fuel competitors Friday at the 24th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway, where drivers set all eight of the track's records.

Eric Medlen (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock), and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were the provisional qualifying leaders of their classes after two qualifying rounds at the $1.6 million event, the 16th of 23 races on the $50 million NHRA POWERade drag racing series' schedule. Professional qualifying continues Saturday.

Schumacher powered his U.S. Army dragster down the quarter-mile track in 4.508 seconds, a track record for elapsed time, at 327.27 mph.

"That was fun," Schumacher said. "Alan (Johnson, crew chief) told me to hold on and I did. God forbid we have some fun doing our jobs, but I certainly did just now. That was great. The points race is so tight and every run is important. It's big for us to gain even one point in the standings."

Medlen piloted his Castrol Syntec Ford Mustang to a track record elapsed time of 4.766 seconds at 324.59 mph.

"We're entirely happy with a 4.76," Medlen said. "Will it hold? I don't know. (John) Force, Robert (Hight) and some of the others might go quicker if it's cool tomorrow. But if they go quicker, so can we. It's so good to have my hot rod back."

Greg Anderson set both ends of the track record with a 6.715 second run at 205.72 mph behind the wheel of his Summit Racing Equipment Pontiac GTO. Anderson credits his performance to the data his crew collected while testing at their local track under similar weather conditions.

"We're actually very, very pleased," Anderson said. "We've been working on the car awfully hard the last week. We were out three or four more days testing with it. We thought we had this (car) working really, really well when we were running it at our local Mooresville (N.C.) track. You just never know when you come to another track if you can duplicate that set-up, if you can make it adapt at another track, but so far it's right on the money.

"Obviously our testing has paid off. The car is happy right now, it likes this track, it is very close to the track we testing on and the guys have done a great job finding what this car wants. We're pretty excited."

Hines rode his Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to a track record-setting pass of 7.024 seconds at 191.92 mph to lead the motorcycle field. Hines broke an almost year-long losing streak with a win in Sonoma, Calif., just two weeks ago. Hines also gained boosts from air temperatures perfect for drag racing -- and a little push, too.

"A good tailwind and cool air can make up for the barometer we're missing from Sonoma," Hines said. "We're trying very hard to defend our championship and one of the key things we wanted to do was get our two bikes up at the front of the class. We were able to do that today."

-nhra-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Greg Anderson , Andrew Hines , Eric Medlen