SCHUMACHER, HIGHT AND ANDERSON EARN TOP QUALIFYING SPOTS AT O'REILLY FALL NATIONALS ENNIS, Texas -- Three-time Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher raced to his 10th No. 1 qualifying position of the season Saturday at the O'Reilly Fall Nationals ...
SCHUMACHER, HIGHT AND ANDERSON EARN TOP QUALIFYING SPOTS AT O'REILLY FALL NATIONALS
ENNIS, Texas -- Three-time Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher raced to his 10th No. 1 qualifying position of the season Saturday at the O'Reilly Fall Nationals presented by Castrol Syntec at the Texas Motorplex.
A cooling afternoon rain shower made Saturday's two qualifying sessions much better than Friday's pair, with most teams improving, most noticeably in the final session. Aside from Schumacher's No. 1 effort of 4.520 seconds at 321.12 mph in his U.S. Army dragster, Robert Hight posted a Funny Car-leading 4.742 in his Auto Club Ford Mustang and Greg Anderson recorded a 6.696 in his Summit Racing Pontiac GTO to set the pace in Pro Stock.
Schumacher earned one point on NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel leader Doug Kalitta, who qualified second with a 4.535 in his Mac Tools dragster.
"I'm sure he wanted to be No. 1 as much as we did," Schumacher said. "I saw him down there and he told me 'Good job.' That's a great car over there. We're going to battle down to the end. Doug's a great driver and I have a ton of respect for him. He'll get up in the morning and be over this little disappointment and be ready to race."
Hight will get his eighth chance of the season to become the first low qualifier in Funny Car to win a race. Friday leader Mike Ashley slipped to third with a 4.799 at 314.53 mph in his Torco Racing Fuels Dodge Charger.
"I didn't know if it would hold because there were some good cars behind us but it did so we're happy," Hight said. "I'm still on cloud nine from winning Indy so the ride continues here. Jimmy (Prock, crew chief) has so much confidence in his tune-up and once he makes a decision he's committed to it."
The monster match-up of the season is slated for Sunday's 11 a.m. opening round as Funny Car points leader Ron Capps will face second-place qualifier John Force. Capps, who leads Force by 17 points in the season standings, qualified 11th with a 4.865 in his Brut Charger to Force's 4.825 in his Castrol GTX Mustang.
The final Pro Stock session featured a lot of movement in the 16-car order. Anderson was able to improve for the fourth consecutive session, posting a 6.696 at 205.60 mph in his Summit Racing Pontiac GTO to lead the class into eliminations for the fifth straight race and the 11th time this season.
"We need every scrap and every point we can get," said Anderson, whose qualifying effort earned him one point on teammate and current points leader Jason Line. "Great job by the guys back in the shop. All their long hours are really paying off and they've given Jason and me a pair of great horses to ride."