Schumacher wins 72nd career pole to extend his Top Fuel record in Pomona

Beckman qualifies second but gift from Valvoline made his day.

POMONA, Calif. - A Schumacher celebrated in the NHRA Winternationals winner's circle 40 years ago, and Sunday another Schumacher hopes to do the same.

Don Schumacher, owner of Don Schumacher Racing, won the last of his five NHRA event titles in 1973 at Pomona, Calif., and son Tony Schumacher is poised to help celebrate the anniversary after Sunday's championship eliminations of the 2013 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series opener.

Tony Schumacher
Tony Schumacher

Photo by: Michael C. Johnson

Tony, who has won seven NHRA Top Fuel world championships, moved to the pole on Friday and then topped that run Saturday afternoon with a time of 3.753 seconds at 324.05 mph to ensure the 72nd No. 1 qualifying position of his career.

The 70th win of his career certainly would have added value.

"It would be very, very special to be able to celebrate with my dad Sunday, but we have three tough races just to get to the finals," said Tony, who owns six Pomona titles. "We never look beyond our next opponent, but the U.S. Army team has given us a great car."

In Funny Car, Jack Beckman lost the pole he earned Friday when Courtney Force bumped him to the second spot on Saturday but another event at the track produced a smile on his face nearly as big as one he would have had were he to have won the ninth pole of his career.

Two of Jack's passions were merged by sponsor Valvoline at the track, which is not far from where he grew up Granada Hills, Calif.

The avid surfer who ranks riding waves just below riding 320-mph Funny Cars, was presented with a custom, top-of-the-line Al Merrick surfboard that saluted him for winning the 2012 NHRA Funny Car world championship.

"You know what, I'm 46 now and I don't get a lot of presents and I don't get wound up and excited for stuff, but that is one of the coolest damn things I've ever gotten in my life.

"I didn't know what to say. Of the two things I love to do - race and surf - Valvoline combined the two. It was such a thoughtful gift and I'm going to use it until it breaks in half.

"I'd be on it Monday if we weren't racing in Phoenix next week."

Don Schumacher Racing

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Series NHRA
Article type Qualifying reports
Tags beckman, nhra, pomona, schumacher, winternationals

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