Tony Schumacher denied record seventh Winternationals title

DSR's U.S. Army team loses in opening round.

POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 9, 2014) - The outcome of races often is determined by being at the right place at the right time but that scenario didn't favor Tony Schumacher and the U.S. Army Top Fuel team Sunday during the opening weekend of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.

Tony Schumacher
Tony Schumacher

Photo by: Michael C. Johnson

Despite posting the fourth best reaction at the starting line in the first round of the Circle K Winternationals at Pomona, Calif., and an elapsed time quick enough to win two other races in the opening round, it wasn't enough for Schumacher to advance to the second round of championship eliminations with the U.S. Army team led by crew chief Mike Green.

Schumacher was able to pedal the throttle in an eye blink when his Don Schumacher Racing dragster lost traction and recovered for a time of 3.847 seconds at 321.50 mph but it wasn't enough to catch Al-Anabi Racing's Khalid alBalooshi's time of 3.760 at 324.20.

"It shook and I pedaled it," said Schumacher, who owns six event titles at Pomona including twice in the Winternationals (2006, 2008). "It's all about timing. Grubby (Dave Grubnic) runs a 4.20 and wins and then Langdon smokes the tires and goes 4.42 and wins."

Schumacher, who owns a record 72 Top Fuel titles, said his team's performance in the opening round was hindered by qualifying 10th that led to the higher qualified alBalooshi getting his choice of lanes.

"Our qualifying can't be the way it was here," he said. "We can't end up qualified that way and expect to win. We put ourselves in that spot. We need to go fast right off the get-go instead of catching up. We have a great plan. Mike Green knows what he's doing. We have a great plan, but we're just not there yet."

Schumacher hopes the plan continues to further develop in two weeks when the Mello Yello series ventures to Wild Horse Motorsports Park (formerly Firebird) near Phoenix where he has won four times including last year's event.

TOP FUEL

Winner:Khalid alBalooshi (Al-Anabi Racing)

No. 1 Qualifier: Doug Kalitta (Kalitta Motorsports) 3.713 seconds (track record), 327.98 mph

DSR

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Series NHRA
Article type Race report
Tags nhra, pomona, tony schumacher, top fuel, winternationals