Englishtown, NJ (May 19): After waiting several hours and through several thunderstorms, fans at the 31st Annual Matco Tools Spring SuperNationals finally saw NHRA Nitro Fuel car racing. Defending Winston Top Fuel champion, Tony Schumacher...
Englishtown, NJ (May 19): After waiting several hours and through several thunderstorms, fans at the 31st Annual Matco Tools Spring SuperNationals finally saw NHRA Nitro Fuel car racing. Defending Winston Top Fuel champion, Tony Schumacher made his way to the staging lanes around 7pm for the first of two scheduled qualifying attempts for Friday.
With temperatures dropping into the 50's and uncertain track conditions, several team opted to sit out and try their luck on Saturday. Team Exide, led by crew chief Dan Olson, knew that they would have to be exact on their tune-up to make a solid pass.
After another slight delay to dry the track, Schumacher lined up against rival Gary Scelzi to finish the first qualifying session. Schumacher currently has a 25 point lead over Scelzi in defense of his Top Fuel title. Schumacher's car left hard and 150 feet down track he pedaled the car to keep from smoking the tires. He thundered the remaining distance to an impressive 4.693 e.t. at 320.36 mph to settle into the No. 3 position.
"We knew that if we got the car through the first 65 feet of track that we should make a good pass," said Olson. Car owner, Don Schumacher added, "Tony did one heck of a job driving tonight to keep from smoking the tires. That's a good number considering the conditions out here right now."
NHRA officials announced that they would try to get the second session of qualifying in before the 10pm track curfew. As 9:30 approached, so did the rain and NHRA officials decided to postpone the second session until Saturday. Schumacher trails Larry Dixon, who is currently No. 1 and David Grubnic who edged Schumacher by .002 seconds.
Saturday qualifying is scheduled for 12pm and 4pm.