Reading: Saturday summary

Schumacher, Bazemore, Yates and Hines earn top qualifying awards at Lucas Oil Nationals. MOHNTON, Pa. - Tony Schumacher earned his first No. 1 qualifying award in more than two years Saturday at the Lucas Oil Nationals at Maple ...

Schumacher, Bazemore, Yates and Hines earn top qualifying awards at Lucas Oil Nationals.

MOHNTON, Pa. - Tony Schumacher earned his first No. 1 qualifying award in more than two years Saturday at the Lucas Oil Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway.

Whit Bazemore, Jim Yates and Matt Hines also will lead their respective categories into Sunday's 11 a.m. eliminations at the $1.9 million race, the 18th of 23 events in the NHRA POWERADE Drag Racing Series.

Schumacher recorded his first No.1 qualifying spot of the season when his U.S. Army dragster clocked a run of 4.551 at 321.81 during Saturday's final qualifying session. It was Schumacher's first No. 1 qualifying award since Aug. 2000 (Brainerd, Minn.).

"This is a really tough field," said Schumacher. "I don't know what to say. We qualified fourth and third an awful lot, but number one, that was a great run. And doing it early in the session, I thought man there are a lot of good cars and there's no way it's going to last."

Andrew Cowin was second in his Yankee dragster with a run of 4.559, 323.74. Rhonda Hartman-Smith clocked a career-best run of 4.578 at 314.02 in her FRAM dragster, good enough for fourth in the order.

Bazemore earned his third No. 1 qualifying award of the season when he piloted his Matco Tools Pontiac Firebird to the top spot in Funny Car with a run of 4.806 at 318.69 during the final qualifying session.

"Just a real good job by the team," said Bazemore. "After not qualifying at Indy, the truth is that this is a tremendous rebound effort by (crew chief) Lee Beard and all the mechanics on this team to regroup and come out here and make a couple of good runs. It's really a credit to them."

John Force qualified second in his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang with a 4.814, 318.24, and was closely followed by Bruce Sarver's White Cap Toyota Celica which recorded a run of 4.818, 316.90.

Yates scored his seventh No. 1 qualifying award and 28th of his career in Pro Stock when he drove his Splitfire/Peak Pontiac Grand Am to a performance of 6.825 at 200.80. Kurt Johnson was second as he drove his patriotic-themed ACDelco Chevy Cavalier to a run of 6.826, 201.85.

Hines claimed his 43rd career No. 1 qualifying effort in Pro Stock Bike, recording a category-best run of 7.179, 182.33 on his Eagle One Suzuki. It is the fifth time in his career that Hines has led the 16-bike field into Sunday's eliminations at Maple Grove Raceway.

"Maple Grove, man I just love this place, rain and all," said Hines. "We were the first in the 'teen's' here and the first in the 'O's.' We've won here three times. I'd love to make it four tomorrow. We just need to go four rounds, that's all."

-nhra-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bruce Sarver , Matt Hines , Kurt Johnson , Whit Bazemore , John Force , Rhonda Hartman-Smith , Tony Schumacher , Andrew Cowin