Schumacher, Bazemore and Anderson Lead Qualifying At O'Reilly Thunder Valley Nationals BRISTOL, Tenn. - Top Fuel points leader Tony Schumacher paced the Top Fuel category Friday during the fourth annual O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at...
Schumacher, Bazemore and Anderson Lead Qualifying At O'Reilly Thunder Valley Nationals
BRISTOL, Tenn. - Top Fuel points leader Tony Schumacher paced the Top Fuel category Friday during the fourth annual O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.
Whit Bazemore and Greg Anderson also earned the provisional No. 1 qualifying position in their respective categories at the $1.2 million race, the sixth of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
Schumacher used a track record time of 4.529 seconds at 324.368 mph in his U.S. Army dragster to lead the Top Fuel category after two rounds of qualifying. Schumacher has three wins so far this season but has failed to earn a No. 1 qualifying position this season.
"(Not being the No. 1 qualifier) wasn't holding us back," Schumacher said. "We were still winning the races. Being the top qualifier is great. It's a great place to be and we would love to stay there.
"The competition is so good right now that if we can go out and run better tomorrow, so can the other cars."
Bazemore ran a 4.862 at 318.09 in his Matco Tools Dodge Stratus to lead the Funny Car class. If Bazemore can hang on to the top spot, it will be his first of the season.
"The car is coming around due to everyone's performance on this team," Bazemore said. "We've had some good performances, we just haven't been consistent. We need to have four good runs in qualifying to help us on Sunday. So far, we're 2-for-2."
Anderson drove his Vegas General Construction Pontiac Grand Am to the top in Pro Stock, setting both ends of the track record with a 6.790 pass at 202.52. If Anderson can keep the No. 1 spot for two more sessions, it will be his 11th consecutive top qualifier.
Anderson and his teammate Jason Line tested at Bristol Dragway for two days last week. They were surprised there weren't more teams sharing the track time.
"There were only three or four other teams testing out here," Anderson said. "That really surprised me. But you can see that our cars and other teams that tested like Allen Johnson did well today. If I was getting crushed on race day I would certainly be testing, especially at the track that we were scheduled to race at the following weekend. Maybe they just don't want it as bad as we do."
The 2003 NHRA POWERade Pro Stock champion said the four wins out of five races this season were not going to be enough to satisfy the team.
"We want the championship, we want more wins than last year, we want the records and we want the bragging rights," Anderson said. "We're not going to slow down, but I can't imagine that the other teams won't quicken their pace, so we have to keep working."
Qualifying continues Saturday with sessions at noon and 3:30 p.m. Final eliminations are set for noon Sunday.