Schumacher sets national record in Joliet

Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois hosted its second NHRA POWERade Series event of 2005 under clear blue skies, a far cry from the dreary, rainy weather of the June race. The pleasant conditions provided Tony Schumacher, Cruz Pedregon and Gary...

Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois hosted its second NHRA POWERade Series event of 2005 under clear blue skies, a far cry from the dreary, rainy weather of the June race. The pleasant conditions provided Tony Schumacher, Cruz Pedregon and Gary Anderson the opportunity to show off their cars at incredible speeds and capture the number one qualifying positions for Sunday's Ameriquest Mortgage NHRA Nationals.

Schumacher, racing not far from his home in Long Grove, IL, took it one step further setting a national Top Fuel elapsed time record of 4.437 seconds down the quarter-mile reaching a top speed of 331.77 MPH. Although Schumacher enjoys the thought of being part of a national record holding team, the twenty bonus points he'll receive if the record holds through eliminations Sunday are more important at the moment.

Part of the close battle for the Top Fuel points championship, Schumacher is focused on retaining his slim 100 point lead over Larry Dixon. Doug Kalitta is not far behind as well. Sunday's final eliminations could quickly shrink his lead.

"This is an awesome race track and an awesome race car. These two seem to be working great together," Schumacher shared. "But we have four really tough rounds tomorrow. We'll focus on things round by round." Cory McClenathan sits second on the ladder followed by Doug Herbert, Doug Kalitta and Brandon Bernstein. Dixon qualified seventh.

Brothers and teammates Cruz and Tony Pedregon sit atop the Funny Car final eliminations ladder. Cruz, who failed to qualify for the last two POWERade Series events, earned his first pole of the year after both brothers ran a low ET 4.680, but Cruz reached a top speed of 330.80 MPH to Tony's 320.36 MPH.

"Nothing would make me happier than to have an all brother final tomorrow," Cruz said. Referring to his teams recent change in crew chiefs, Cruz continued "We knew the changes we made were more for the long term. After the last two races, I looked at the team and told them we're better than this. I have to give the credit to (new co-crew chiefs) Sam Shockley and Ron Douglas as well as Dickie Venables, Tony's crew chief."

Funny Car points leader Gary Scelzi qualified third followed by Tommy Johnson Jr. and John Force. Frank Pedregon, Cruz and Tony's older brother, also made the show grabbing the thirteenth spot.

Greg Anderson continued his domination of the Pro Stock Car division capturing his fifth pole of the year and increasing his already generous championship points lead with a 6.646 second ET at 207.27 MPH.

Route 66 Raceway has not been kind to Anderson come eliminations though. He's flipped, fouled and had his share of technical glitches and has never won a Wally here. "We'd like to get this monkey off our back. Freak stuff happens here. Hopefully tomorrow is a different story."

Following Anderson on the ladder is teammate Jason Line, Larry Morgan and Richie Stevens. Erica Enders qualified fifth on the Pro Stock ladder, her highest qualifying spot so far this year.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Frank Pedregon , Larry Dixon , Tony Pedregon , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Greg Anderson , Larry Morgan , Cruz Pedregon , Cory McClenathan , Brandon Bernstein , Jason Line , Gary Anderson