Sears Point: Schumacher drops to 3rd with second round loss

Exide Batteries team and driver, Tony Schumacher, set their sites on gaining ground on Winston points leader, Gary Scelzi. In the first round of eliminations, Schumacher faced the No. 8 qualifier, Joe Amato. Considered the toughest matchup...

Exide Batteries team and driver, Tony Schumacher, set their sites on gaining ground on Winston points leader, Gary Scelzi.

In the first round of eliminations, Schumacher faced the No. 8 qualifier, Joe Amato. Considered the toughest matchup in round one, Schumacher took a slight starting line advantage and cruised to victory with a 4.824 e.t. at 312.71 mph. Schumacher would face Jim Cavalieri in the second round. Cavalieri, the No. 16 qualifier, upset No. 1 and Top Fuel points leader, Gary Scelzi, for the second time in the past three races.

"That was a huge round for us," said Schumacher, "Joe (Amato) only out qualified us by .006 and we were in the worse of the two lanes. We are happy to take that one."

Cavalieri, driving for the Peek Brother, pilots the same dragster that Schumacher made his NHRA Top Fuel debut at the 1996 U.S. Nationals and campaigned during the 1997 season. Schumacher again left the starting line first, but immediately smoked his tires. He pedaled his car, but was not able to regain traction and coasted to a 6.413 e.t. at 143.70 mph, while Cavalieri negotiated the quarter mile with a very strong 4.812 second run.

"We made a last minute lane change because we thought we saw something in the left lane," said a disappointed Schumacher, "and thought the right lane would be better."

"Even though we didn't gain as many as we wanted, we did gain on Scelzi."

Team Exide will have one week off before heading to Brainerd, Minnesota where they will continue to chase down points leader, Scelzi. Schumacher dropped to third in NHRA Winston Championship points, 12 behind Larry Dixon and 109 behind leader Gary Scelzi

"Last year we didn't get the lead until Indy," said Schumacher, "so you can't count us out yet."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Tony Schumacher , Gary Scelzi