Topeka: Schumacher No. 2 with four races remaining

Topeka, Kan. (Oct. 1): Starting from the No. 2 qualifying position, reigning Top Fuel Champion Tony Schumacher, leaves the Advance Auto Parts Nationals No. 2 in points with four races remaining in the 2000 NHRA season. Schumacher started final...

Topeka, Kan. (Oct. 1): Starting from the No. 2 qualifying position, reigning Top Fuel Champion Tony Schumacher, leaves the Advance Auto Parts Nationals No. 2 in points with four races remaining in the 2000 NHRA season.

Schumacher started final eliminations with a Round 1 defeat of Rhonda Hartman-Smith. Schumacher motored down the Heartland Park Topeka track with a 4.638 e.t. at 313.07 mph. That win would set up a second round meeting with teammate, Melanie Troxel.

In Round 2, Schumacher defeated Troxel, who began to smoke her tires at about 200 feet and was forced to shut the car off. Schumacher slowed to a 4.708 e.t. at 303.64 mph.

Schumacher's semifinal opponent was Doug Kalitta, who Schumacher had faced 16 times previously in his Top Fuel career. Schumacher had a slight starting line advantage but Kalitta's 4.651 e.t. nipped Schumacher's 4.692 second run by .022 seconds.

"We just got out run," said Schumacher, "with the new track surface at the top end, we had to take some motor out of it and from half track on is usually our strength. The Kalitta's have had their car running great and hats off to them for a good race."

That loss puts Schumacher's career record against Kalitta at 7 wins, 10 losses. With Schumacher's loss and Scelzi's win, Scelzi now has a 49 point lead over Schumacher.

"We have four races to go and it's really down to Gary (Scelzi) and us," said Schumacher, "now it's time for us to show why we won the championship last year."

Teams will head straight to Memphis Motorsports Park for the 12th Annual AutoZone Nationals where Schumacher will continue his quest for his second straight NHRA Winston Top Fuel Championship.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Schumacher , Doug Kalitta , Melanie Troxel