Commerce, Ga. (May 6): Competitors finished qualifying for the Advance Auto Parts Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Georgia and will move on to final eliminations on Sunday. NHRA Winston Top Fuel Champion, Tony Schumacher will...
Commerce, Ga. (May 6): Competitors finished qualifying for the Advance Auto Parts Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Georgia and will move on to final eliminations on Sunday. NHRA Winston Top Fuel Champion, Tony Schumacher will start No. 4 as he attempts to win his second race of the season and keep his 24 point lead.
Schumacher and his Exide teammates started the day No. 4 and knew the heat would make it difficult to improve on that position. In the first session of the day, Schumacher smoked his tires and coasted to a 8.499 e.t. at 90.82 mph.
"The car didn't just blow the tires off, it kind of eased into it," said Schumacher, "it took me a second to realize I had lost traction."
After returning to the pit, crew chief Dan Olson, discovered that a clutch timer had malfunctioned and activated too early.
"It added just enough primary clutch to smoke the tires," added Schumacher, "that's how close to the edge we have to run these cars."
After completing routine maintenance and analyzing their data from earlier passes, Team Exide was prepared for their final qualifying attempt. Many of the dragsters had trouble with the high track temperatures that exceeded 120 degrees, but Schumacher was one of the exceptions. His Dan Olson-tuneup propelled him down the track to a 4.648 e.t. at 314.75 mph. Though it did not advance him in the standings, it provided the Exide team with valuable information for conditions on raceday and was the quickest e.t. of the last qualifying session.
Going into Sunday's eliminations, Schumacher will face No. 13 qualifier, Terry Mullins, who qualified with a 4.841 e.t. at 266.21 mph.
As Schumacher prepared to leave the track for the evening, he commented, "We feel like we have a really good handle on the track for tomorrow in the heat. This would be a great weekend to add another win."
Final eliminations are scheduled to begin at 10:30am.