Schumacher, Force, Coughlin and Savoie Claim Mac Tools U.S. Nationals titles. CLERMONT, Ind. -- Tony Schumacher raced to his second Top Fuel victory of the season Monday at the 48th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway ...
Schumacher, Force, Coughlin and Savoie Claim Mac Tools U.S. Nationals titles.
CLERMONT, Ind. -- Tony Schumacher raced to his second Top Fuel victory of the season Monday at the 48th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway Park.
John Force, Jeg Coughlin and Angelle Savoie also were winners in their respective categories at the $2.5 million race, the 17th of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
Schumacher claimed his second trophy at the world's most prestigious drag race by defeating season-long dominator Larry Dixon in the final round. Schumacher powered his U.S. Army dragster to a performance of 4.663 seconds at 315.93 mph to cross the finish line in front of Dixon's Miller Lite dragster, which lost traction near mid-track and posted a 5.161 at 240.29.
"What an incredible day," said Schumacher of his seventh career victory. "Indy is a race you wait for all year. To win Indy is incredible and to win it two times in three years is unbelievable. My father (Don Schumacher, team owner) has won this race and his teams have had a lot of success here. This is such a huge event. When you look at the list of people who have won this race it's amazing -- Don Garlits, Shirley Muldowney, Don Prudhomme, my dad. I'm just glad we could add our name to that list for a second time."
Schumacher used a consistent tune-up for victories over Darrell Russell and Andrew Cowin, but utilized his experience behind the wheel to defeat top qualifier Cory McClenathan in a tire-smoking second round duel.
"That second round was the key to the win," said Schumacher, also a winner at this event in 2000. "If you are going to win a race, you've got to win a tire-smoking contest during the weekend. I think in every race I've won I've had to win a round like that and today it was against Cory."
With the runner-up finish, Dixon increased his series points lead to 103 over Kenny Bernstein, who lost in the semis to his championship rival.
Force scored his sixth win of the season and third in a row by defeating Tommy Johnson Jr. in Funny Car. Force claimed his fourth Indy win and 104th of his career on a holeshot start, running 5.028 at 280.02 in his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang to hold off Johnson's Skoal Chevy Camaro, which clocked a quicker, but losing, 4.996 at 308.43.
The win was a special one for the 11-time series champion, who was determined to make up for a near race ending error against Cruz Pedregon in the semifinals. Force underestimated Pedregon's team's ability to be competitive in the semifinals after suffering an engine explosion the round before. Not only did Pedregon make the call for the semi, he beat Force off the starting line. Force managed to get the win when Pedregon's car had problems near mid-track.
"I failed my team so badly against Cruz because I got out of the zone and lost concentration," said Force, who bettered his poor reaction time of .590 with a .482 in the final. "Fortunately I was able to redeem myself in the final. We were lucky to win that one against Cruz and I just said to myself, 'Don't give it away on the lights in the final.' I was hyped up and in the zone for that one.
"This is my most exciting Indy ever."
With the victory, Force extended his points lead to 199 over second place driver Tony Pedregon.
"You just want to hold your own and keep that points lead," said Force. "Now I can start talking about 10 (championships) in a row. At Indy you start getting the game plan together, but there's still six races to go. You can lose in the first round one time and all of a sudden these kids can catch you in a hurry. We're just going to try to stay focused and win rounds."
Coughlin also used a holeshot victory to move into the Pro Stock points lead for the first time since the end of the 2000 season. Coughlin earned his fourth victory of the season and 27th of his career with quick starting line reflexes and a 6.951 at 199.08 in his Jeg's Mail Order Chevy Cavalier to defeat Jim Yates' quicker Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Grand Am, which recorded a 6.934 at 200.08 after a slow start. It was Coughlin's second U.S. Nationals victory.
"We're proud," said Coughlin, who moved to fourth on the all-time Pro Stock win list ahead of the late Lee Shepherd. "It's unbelievable to be in the points lead right now. We've been talking about it for two months now. Pro Stock in this day and age is just unbelievable. It's zero tolerance when you're racing against the multi-car, multi-talented teams. We feel real fortunate to have won four races."
In what has developed into a thrilling points race in Pro Stock, Coughlin leads Greg Anderson by one point and runner-up Yates is in third, nine points back.
Savoie claimed her fourth victory of the season and 26th of her career in Pro Stock Bike, defeating Shawn Gann in the final round battle between Suzukis. Savoie clocked a 7.232 at 183.39 to defeat Gann, who posted a 7.263 at 184.22.
"I was fortunate to have the better bike today," Savoie said. "When I can keep it together as a driver this Star Racing team is very good and there's nothing better than that."
Savoie increased her points lead to 111 over Craig Treble with three bike races remaining on the schedule.
The next event in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series is the 18th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, Sept. 12-15 at Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, Pa.