Las Vegas, NV (April 7, 2000): Race teams were eager to test the surface of "the Strip" as the first day of qualifying for the SummitRacing.com Nationals at Bruton Smith's Las Vegas Motor Speedway got underway. "We tested a lot of things in ...
Las Vegas, NV (April 7, 2000): Race teams were eager to test the surface of "the Strip" as the first day of qualifying for the SummitRacing.com Nationals at Bruton Smith's Las Vegas Motor Speedway got underway.
"We tested a lot of things in Tucson this winter to try to prepare for the conditions here," said the defending NHRA champion Tony Schumacher, "but it's still not the same as making passes right here."
Schumacher was paired against Gary Scelzi for the first session of the afternoon. Both cars left together and both cars smoked the tires at about the same time as Schumacher coasted to a 5.557 ET at 105.55 mph. Schumacher commented, "I love racing Scelzi so much, I was tempted to get back into the throttle just to get to the finish line first."
"Of course, I'm sure Dan (Olson - crew chief) would have had a word or two for me on the radio," he added with a grin.
For the second session and the first under the lights, the Team Exide dragster was in the first pair. Schumacher's dragster looked to be on a great pass, but the flames vanished from his headers and he finished with a 4.744 et at 263.41 mph.
"We lined up to one side of the lane, but got into a bald spot on the track. I drove the car back into the groove, then the rpm's came up like I was starting to smoke the tires and I saw a piece of the blower belt shoot over my head," Schumacher said as he described his final attempt of the day.
"Looking at the numbers, it probably would have been a mid .60's run."
Schumacher ended his day in the No. 7 qualifying position, with two additional attempts to better his position are scheduled for Saturday. When asked about the new Las Vegas facility Schumacher commented, "We I was out here yesterday looking at the starting line I was afraid that the cars on the highway at the top end would be distracting."
"You are so focused once you get in the car all you see is the bulbs on the tree."
Saturday's qualifying sessions are scheduled for noon and 4:00pm. Schumacher is also scheduled for an autograph session from 7:00 - 8:00pm on Saturday night at the Palace Station Hotel and Casino.