Vegas heats up on Saturday

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Vegas heats up on Saturday

Anderson wins Pro Stock Championship, Schumacher earns Bud Shootout in Vegas There is still one spot empty in Tony Schumacher's trophy case, but that one has been saved for the NHRA Top Fuel Budweiser Shootout Champion trophy. The Shootout is ...


Anderson wins Pro Stock Championship, Schumacher earns Bud Shootout in Vegas

There is still one spot empty in Tony Schumacher's trophy case, but that one has been saved for the NHRA Top Fuel Budweiser Shootout Champion trophy. The Shootout is a bonus event based on teams' qualifying efforts throughout the last year.

Tony Schumacher.
Photo by Bob Harmeyer.
This Saturday, on The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Schumacher had the chance to fill that spot, but needed to beat all three Kalitta Motorsports drivers to get the hardware.

Motivated by an incredibly close loss to Doug Kalitta in the 2003 shootout final, Schumacher took out David Grubnic and Doug Kalitta on his way to this year's final round. That's where he matched up with the third KM teammate, Scott Kalitta, who had beat Morgan Lucas and Cory McClenathan earlier in the day.

With a check for $100,000 waiting for the winner at the end of the quarter mile, Schumacher beat Kalitta at the lights but pedaled his dragster about 100 yards out. Kalitta passed him, but the US Army dragster had enough power to regain the lead at the finish line and win the trophy that has eluded Schumacher for so long.

After a trip with the Budweiser Clydesdales, an elated Schumacher shared, "I wish to God everyone could be in that position just once in their life, one that intense. $100,000 on the line, the light changes and (the tires) shake at 100 yards. It's enough to make a grown man cry."

The Sarge and his US Army team are certainly not crying; especially after sealing the championship Friday night. They continue their quest for more victories tomorrow, possibly earning an additional $50,000 double up bonus if they succeed.

The Shootout took place amongst qualifying sessions for the 5th Annual ACDelco Nationals. Ryan Schnitz, Morgan Lucas, Tommy Johnson Jr. and Greg Anderson sped to the top of the ladders for Sunday's event.

Greg Anderson clinched his third consecutive POWERade Championship by topping the Pro Stock car field this weekend with a low ET 6.818 seconds topping out at 201.97 mph. After a rough start earlier this year, Anderson admitted "I'm getting more enjoyment out of this win because we had to dig ourselves out of a hole."

Greg Anderson.
Photo by Bob Harmeyer.
"We're a very confident group. We got our ducks in a row when we needed to and got the job done." An excited Anderson continued, "I consider this my home track and the team and our families love coming to Las Vegas. I can't think of a better place to win this."

Erica Enders continued her hot streak qualifying third on the Pro Stock ladder, her highest career qualifying spot and third top five spot in as many races. Kurt Johnson sits just above her in second with Jason Line and Richie Stevens rounding out the top five.

Earning his first career number one qualifier spot, 22-year old Ryan Schnitz sped his Pro Stock Motorcycle down The Strip in 7.205 seconds reaching a top speed of 183.67 mph. Schnitz shared, "The team's worked really hard this year. I now realize how difficult it is to qualify number one, it's very difficult. It's a really great feeling to go into the show (tomorrow) the number one qualifier."

He's followed on the Pro Stock Motorcycle ladder by championship points leader Andrew Hines, Chip Ellis, Chris Rivas and Angelle Sampey.

One run before the Bud Shootout final, Morgan Lucas took his turn down the quarter mile and grabbed his second number one spot of the year with a low ET of 4.508 seconds reaching 324.36 mph. Lucas will finish the season with this Joe Amato team but plans to drive for his dad next year. Admitting spirits are still high in the pits Lucas said "We started as a team, we want to win as a team. We've been working our way up and the car is showing it's potential."

Following Lucas on the Top Fuel ladder are Schumacher, Melanie Troxel, Larry Dixon and Las Vegas resident Rod Fuller. Troxel had the fastest qualifying run this weekend reaching a top speed of 328.78 mph.

In the final session of the day, Gary Scelzi managed a stunning 4.746 second run under the lights to grab the Funny Car pole. Scelzi said, "It was a serious run. I know we were on the limiter. I'm impressed with how these guys are working. They're really on it."

With a fierce battle going on for the POWERade Funny Car championship, Scelzi gained a few points on leader John Force who qualified fifth. Also in the points running is second place qualifier Ron Capps. Cruz Pedregon and Tommy Johnson Jr. complete the top five.

Final eliminations for the 5th Annual ACDelco Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway begin tomorrow at 11:00 am.

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