European champ Erbacher in the elimination mix POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 15) -- Four-time FIA champion Urs Erbacher successfully qualified his Midland Oil Top Fuel dragster for the 44th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals Saturday with a 3.904-second pass...
European champ Erbacher in the elimination mix
POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 15) -- Four-time FIA champion Urs Erbacher successfully qualified his Midland Oil Top Fuel dragster for the 44th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals Saturday with a 3.904-second pass at 309.20 mph. It was Erbacher's best elapsed time of the 1,000-foot era and places him 13th in the 16-car field.
"We're so happy to be in and to have moved up on the grid," Erbacher said. "We've got four rounds of data to work from now and the track seems to be getting better each session. I think we could have some success on race day."
Erbacher got a thrill from his final qualifying pass as it occurred opposite six-time American champion Tony Schumacher. The two titlists have become friends during Erbacher's time in the USA and always take a moment for some good natured ribbing before each session.
"He calls me fat and I call him a little man," Erbacher said with a laugh. "When we saw we would run each other we decided it was for the bragging rights of the world. It was all in fun but we still wanted to beat each other."
In the end, Erbacher left the starting lights first but was soon up in smoke, which allowed Schumacher to take the finish line first, much to Erbacher's consternation.
"The little man beat me," Erbacher said. "But no matter how much bigger I am than he is we can all clearly see who is the best off the starting line!"
The Midland Oil team must now prepare for a first-round match-up with former Rookie of the Year driver J.R. Todd. Todd's best pass showed a 3.848 at 301.87 mph. He ended up fourth on the ladder.
"He is a very good driver," Erbacher said. "His team has struggled this year but he did beat Schumacher in Dallas so he will be a very formidable opponent for us. However, we have the capability of running strong also. Against Schumacher just now we had our best 60-foot time ever. If the car had held the track a moment longer we would have been in line for a great number.
"We have nothing to lose Sunday so we're ready for a fight."