Park Ridge, IL (May 24): After a disappointing rain out in Englishtown, the next stop for the Exide Batteries race team is Ennis, Texas for the 4th Annual Castrol Nationals presented by O'Reilly Auto Parts, May 25-28. The Texas Motorplex has...
Park Ridge, IL (May 24): After a disappointing rain out in Englishtown, the next stop for the Exide Batteries race team is Ennis, Texas for the 4th Annual Castrol Nationals presented by O'Reilly Auto Parts, May 25-28. The Texas Motorplex has been very friendly in the past to defending Top Fuel Winston Champion, Tony Schumacher.
A year ago at this race, Schumacher ran 327.27 mph, which at the time, was the second fastest run in NHRA history. It still stands as the third fastest in the sport and a Motorplex record. Schumacher eventually lost in the semifinals to Doug Kalitta.
Six months later, at the fall race held at the Motorplex, Schumacher made history by establishing a new NHRA mph record of 326.91. Once again, he went on to the semifinals to meet Doug Kalitta. This time the outcome was different. Schumacher defeated Kalitta and also defeated Kalitta's cousin, Scott, in the finals to capture his first career victory.
"The Texas Motorplex will always be a special place for me," said Schumacher, "to set a new mph record AND get my first win all in one weekend was unbelievable."
That win also gave the Exide Batteries team the extra momentum they needed heading into the last two races of the 1999 season, as they went on to capture the NHRA Winston Top Fuel title.
"The great racing surface they have here and Dan's (Olson - crew chief) tune-up make an awesome combination."
Schumacher comes to the Castrol Nationals with a 25 point lead over Gary Scelzi and will look to extend it as they head into the hot summer days where tracks give up traction.
"Since we won the fall race, it would be great to win the Castrol Nationals so we can have a set of Texas Motorplex bookends," Schumacher added with a grin.
Qualifying is scheduled for Friday, May 26 and Saturday, May 27. Finals eliminations are scheduled for Sunday, May 28 at 11am. TNN will broadcast final round coverage. Check local listings for times.