Schumacher Clinches NHRA POWERade World Championship; Ties Record For Wins in A Season in Top Fuel at Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals Scelzi, Line and Savoie also earn victories in their categories at Maple Grove Raceway MOHNTON, Pa. - Tony ...
Schumacher Clinches NHRA POWERade World Championship; Ties Record For Wins in A Season in Top Fuel at Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals
Scelzi, Line and Savoie also earn victories in their categories at Maple Grove Raceway
MOHNTON, Pa. - Tony Schumacher won his second NHRA POWERade Series Top Fuel world championship Sunday and in the process raced to victory in the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway.
Gary Scelzi, Jason Line and Angelle Savoie also were winners in their respective categories at the $1.7 million race, the 21st of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
Schumacher clinched the $400,000 NHRA POWERade Top Fuel season title with a second round win over rival Brandon Bernstein, then later tied the record for most victories in a season in his category by outrunning veteran driver Bob Vandergriff in the final round.
Schumacher took his ninth win of the season and 20th of his career by clocking a 4.475 second run at 329.99 mph in the U.S. Army dragster, while Vandergriff's machine lost traction at mid-track and limped to the finish in 8.206 at 99.48. With the victory, he tied Scelzi (2000) and Larry Dixon (2002) for most Top Fuel wins in a season.
"What an unbelievable day," Schumacher said. "To win the POWERade world championship and tie the record for wins in a season on the same day, it's awesome. I was joking with some people that I should just retire after today because how will I be able to top this?"
Scelzi's second victory of the season delayed John Force from clinching a record 13th NHRA world championship in Funny Car. Scelzi's Hemi Oakley Dodge Stratus R/T covered the distance in 4.853 at 308.23, while Force's Castrol GTX Start Up Ford Mustang lost traction at the start and posted an 11.507 at 86.39.
"I don't think anyone expected us to win that race including me," Scelzi said. "They had the car to beat and he was ready to win it all but when you're running those kind of numbers like he was, stuff in the mid-4.7s, you're right on the edge. We just ran as quick as we could safely. We didn't want to be stupid in the final just in case he smoked the tires. (Crew chief) Mike Neff played it smart and we won. Look for that name, Mike Neff, to keep getting headlines. He's young and he's good. I'm glad he's my guy."
Force, who leads Del Worsham by 260 points following the runner-up finish, needs only to qualify at the next event to secure the season championship title.
Line scored his fourth win of the season and in the process denied his boss, category champion Greg Anderson, an opportunity to break the NHRA record for pro victories in a season (13) he currently holds with Force.
In the quickest side-by-side Pro Stock race in NHRA history, Line drove his KB Framers Pontiac Grand Am to a track record 6.669 at 206.23 to edge Anderson's Summit Racing Grand Am, which clocked a 6.681 at a track record speed of 206.67.
"No one can ever accuse us of not racing," Line said. "There are no orders on this team. That just shows what a classy guy Greg is. He's a great champion and a true drag racer. He never said a word except, 'good luck,' even though we all know how much he wants to set that record."
Line, also a leading candidate for the Auto Club Road to the Future Award which recognizes NHRA's top rookie performer for the season, hopes the victory will increase his status in the eyes of more than 100 of the nation's top auto racing journalists who vote for it. Other top candidates for the award include Eric Medlen in Funny Car and Morgan Lucas in Top Fuel.
"Hopefully, this win gives our Rookie of the Year effort a big shot in the arm," Line said. "I don't know how it can be anything but a good thing for us. I mean, I just beat Greg Anderson, which is something most people haven't been able to do in the last two years. That has to count for a lot."
Angelle Savoie beat teammate Antron Brown in the quickest Pro Stock Bike race in history, to take her third win of the season and 34th of her career. In a battle of identically prepared U.S. Army Suzukis, Savoie clocked a track record time of 7.018 at 191.29, while Brown trailed with a 7.047 at 184.35.
"What an awesome weekend for the Army team," Savoie said. "Anytime me and Antron get to race with the trophy on the line it's all good. Last time we raced for it all was in Sonoma and I got to paint his fingernails because he lost the bet. This time everyone better bring their cameras to Las Vegas because he has to wear a little Angelle shirt all weekend long. You'd think he'd learn. I only wish we'd been three thousandths of a second quicker and we would have set the national record."
Mega NHRA team owner Don Schumacher accomplished a first in NHRA history by claiming event victories in three pro categories.
"We're committed to making this sport as good as it can be," he said while he celebrated in winner's circle with his three winning drivers -- son Tony, Scelzi and Savoie. "If I'm the one that brings it to the next level, then so be it. We've got a lot of great cars in our organization and we've had a chance to win three classes at the same race twice before, but to finally get it done is phenomenal."
The NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series continues with the fourth annual ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals, Oct. 28-31, at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.