Indianapolis: U.S. Nationals post-race notes

Post Race Notes: 50th Annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals Sept. 1-6, Indianapolis Raceway Park, Clermont, Ind. TOP FUEL * Tony Schumacher, from Long Grove, Ill., moved into second place on the...

Post Race Notes:
50th Annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals
Sept. 1-6, Indianapolis Raceway Park, Clermont, Ind.

TOP FUEL

* Tony Schumacher, from Long Grove, Ill., moved into second place on the all-time U.S. Nationals Top Fuel win list, earning his third consecutive victory at the historic event and fourth overall. Schumacher, who made his Top Fuel debut at Indianapolis in 1996 and was the runner-up to Cory McClenathan, powered his U.S. Army dragster to the finish line in 4.597 seconds at 323.66 mph, outrunning first-time U.S. Nationals finalist Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools dragster, which recorded a slightly slower pass of 4.621 at 316.45 in a matchup of the top two drivers in the POWERade point standings.

* Schumacher's four victories at IRP are second only to 'Big Daddy' Don Garlits' eight Mac Tools U.S. Nationals victories. Garlits and Schumacher are the only two Top Fuel drivers in NHRA history to win three consecutive U.S. Nationals.

* Kalitta, from Ann Arbor, Mich., secured his fourth No. 1 qualifying position of the season and the 20th of his career when his Mac Tools dragster recorded a qualifying time of 4.544 at 325.53 to lead the category.

* Schumacher increased his lead in the POWERade standings to a 160-point advantage over second-place Kalitta and a 240-point lead over Brandon Bernstein and the Budweiser/Lucas Oil team. Scott Kalitta, Doug's cousin, advanced to the semifinals behind the wheel of the Jesse James/Mac Tools dragster, moving him into fourth place in the POWERade standings, eight points ahead of his teammate David Grubnic. The three dragsters that comprise Kalitta Racing occupy three of the top five spots in the standings.

FUNNY CAR

* Veteran racer Gary Densham earned an emotional victory in his Auto Club Ford Mustang, defeating three-time U.S. Nationals winner Cruz Pedregon and the Advance Auto Parts Chevy Monte Carlo. Densham, who didn't win an NHRA event until his 244th career start (Memphis, Tenn., 2001), covered the quarter-mile in 4.890 seconds at 317.64 mph in his Mustang, easily defeating Pedregon's Monte Carlo to the finish line after it lost traction and slowed to a run of 6.497 at 147.15.

* Densham's second victory of the season and eighth of his career was definitely the most lucrative of his 22-year NHRA career. The former high school shop teacher collected the $50,000 'double-up' bonus from the NHRA for winning the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals and the Skoal Showdown over the same weekend. Densham made his fifth career start in the $100,000 Skoal Showdown, a bonus event for the top eight Funny Car qualifiers over a calendar year. Densham, who qualified second for the bonus program, defeated Del Worsham and Tim Wilkerson en route to his first-career Showdown final round. Densham's Auto Club-sponsored Ford recorded a pass of 4.893 at 316.08, which was enough to hold off team-owner and fellow-Mustang driver John Force and his Castrol GTX Start Up Ford, which lost traction near the finish line and recorded a losing time of 5.083 at 270.05. Force took home $15,000 for his runner-up finish.

* This was the second consecutive Skoal Showdown to feature an all-Force Racing final round. Last season former Force Racing driver Tony Pedregon defeated Force in the final to earn the $100,000 payday.

* Force, who was the No. 1 qualifier for the Skoal Showdown, has more victories (five), final round appearances (11), and overall Showdown appearances (21) than any other Funny Car driver in NHRA history.

* In a key second round matchup during eliminations, current points leader Force met the surging second-place Gary Scelzi and the Hemi-powered Oakley Dodge Stratus from the Schumacher Racing stable. Scelzi left the starting line first and sped down the quarter-mile in his Dodge in 4.909 at 318.99, getting a holeshot victory against Force's quicker Ford Mustang which covered the distance in 4.885 at 314.90 but was unable to make up the starting line advantage.

* With five events remaining on the 2004 schedule, Force has a 206-point lead over Scelzi and a 227-point lead over Scelzi's teammate, Whit Bazemore in the POWERade standings. Del Worsham occupies the fourth position in the chase towards the $400,000 championship check and Densham is fifth.

PRO STOCK

* Defending Pro Stock champion Greg Anderson's 29th career victory and third Mac Tools U.S. Nationals title gave him 13 wins on the season, tying the NHRA single-season victory mark set by Funny Car driver John Force in 1996 (19-race schedule). Anderson steered his Summit Racing Pontiac Grand Am down the drag strip in 6.839 seconds at 202.09 mph, besting first-time finalist Kenny Koretsky who posted a pass of 6.870 at 201.37 in his Nitro Fish Dodge Stratus.

* Anderson also tied the record for most Pro Stock final round appearances in a season with 15, a record he established last year. Over the last 41 NHRA national events (dating back to the 2003 season-opener at Pomona, Calif.), Anderson has scored 26 victories in 30 final round appearances, amassing a 129-16 won-lost record in elimination rounds.

* Anderson earned $1,000 from Motel 6 for winning the Motel 6 'Who Got the Light' Award. He defeated Jeg Coughlin in the Pro Stock semifinal round with a margin of victory of 0.0069 of a second. Ironically, Anderson earned the $1,000 bonus at last season's Mac Tools U.S. Nationals by defeating Coughlin in the semifinals by .0019.

* With the victory, Anderson extended his POWERade Series lead to 636-points over teammate Jason Line. Anderson can clinch his second consecutive NHRA POWERade Pro Stock championship at the NHRA's next event, the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa. There, Anderson must qualify in the No. 4 position or higher and win his first round of eliminations, wrapping up Anderson's second POWERade crown.

* Two-time NHRA POWERade Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin competed in and won the special Mopar Super Stock Hemi Challenge, a special event for Hemi-powered Dodge and Plymouth vehicles. Coughlin competed in the 22-car field in a 1968 Barracuda, winning five rounds of competition to earn the $10,000 bonus.

PRO STOCK BIKE

* Antron Brown earned his second consecutive victory atop his U.S. Army Suzuki, riding to the finish line in 7.213 seconds at 185.77 mph to hold off Shawn Gann, who recorded a slower pass of 7.238 at 185.74 atop his specially-painted Mac Tools Suzuki. It was brown's 13th career victory and his second U.S. Nationals title (2000).

* Chip Ellis became the first Pro Stock Bike rider to earn the No. 1 qualifying position in his NHRA professional debut, riding his George Bryce-tuned S&S Star Racing Buell to the top spot with a qualifying pass of 7.115 at 186.85. Ellis was eliminated in the first round when his bike experienced mechanical failures at the starting line and was unable to make a pass, giving No. 16 qualifier Kurt Matte the victory.

* Andrew Hines collected a $15,000 bonus for winning the K&N Filters Pro Bike Klash, a bonus event for the top eight Pro Stock Biker qualifiers over a calendar year. Hines met teammate GT Tonglet in the final round of the special event, each riding a Vance & Hines Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson -- the first-ever all-Harley-Davidson Klash final. Hines sped down the track in 7.203 at 186.10 to cross the finish line ahead of Tonglet, who recorded a run of 7.270 at 183.99. Hines joins his brother Matt as a winner of the K&N Filters Pro Bike Klash, making them the first set of brothers to each have at least one victory in the bonus race.

* Hines maintained his lead in the POWERade Pro Stock Bike standings with a 153-point advantage over Brown, 199-point lead on Gann and a 217-point lead on the fourth-place Angelle Savoie.

-nhra-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Jeg Coughlin , Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , Greg Anderson , Shawn Gann , David Grubnic , Gary Densham , Don Garlits , Cory McClenathan , Scott Kalitta , Kenny Koretsky , George Bryce , Brandon Bernstein , Jason Line , Andrew Hines , GT Tonglet , Chip Ellis , Kurt Matte , Jesse James