Pomona II: David Baca Saturday summary

Baca stares down familiar foe in Round 1 POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 11) -- Two events ago in Richmond, Va., Mach 1 Air Services Top Fuel racer David Baca upset three-time series champion and No. 1 qualifier Tony Schumacher in the opening round of ...

Baca stares down familiar foe in Round 1

POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 11) -- Two events ago in Richmond, Va., Mach 1 Air Services Top Fuel racer David Baca upset three-time series champion and No. 1 qualifier Tony Schumacher in the opening round of eliminations to serious put a damper on Schumacher's title defense. It was a shocking result to everyone outside Baca's race team and one that's ripple effect is still being felt as the season closes with the 42nd annual Auto Club of Southern California NHRA Finals. Schumacher is just over two rounds behind points leader Doug Kalitta and needs to win the race and hope for a little assistance to maintain champion status.

For the fourth time this year, Schumacher will have to start his race day against Baca, a fact that can't sit well with the champ with images of his Virginia debacle still fresh in his mind. For Baca, it's an opportunity to live up to his nickname of "the Spoiler" on drag racing's biggest stage, as the world watches to see who will emerge as the 2006 champion.

"You don't go out there to ruin other people's plans but the bottom line is there's only one winner at the end of the day," said Baca, who lives in Brentwood, Calif. "We want to end the year with a win. We reached the finals here in the spring and I want to get one more round win this time through. Tony's just the guy in the way.

"He's in a ridiculously tight race and he's the one that needs to make something happen. Maybe that will work in our favor. Maybe they'll try to do too much. All we can do is race our race and see what happens. I wish him luck, but I want to win."

Baca qualified 15th in the quickest field ever assembled with a 4.583 at 310.98 mph. Schumacher is second overall with a 4.458 at 328.46 mph.

"He's at a performance advantage," Baca said. "Of course, everyone that races that team says the same thing. They're on their game. But we're motivated. We're carrying the message of the Morgellons Research Foundation, a disease that has afflicted our car chief's sister-in-law, and we're wanting to win for her as well as Mach 1 Air Services."

-credit: dbr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Schumacher , Doug Kalitta , David Baca