Columbus Tony Schumacher Delivers Perfect Father's Day Present

Columbus, Ohio (June 18): Starting from the No. 6 qualifying position, Tony Schumacher used a win at the Pontiac Excitement Nationals at National Trail Raceway as one of the best Father's Days gift imaginable for his father and team owner, Don ...

Columbus, Ohio (June 18): Starting from the No. 6 qualifying position, Tony Schumacher used a win at the Pontiac Excitement Nationals at National Trail Raceway as one of the best Father's Days gift imaginable for his father and team owner, Don Schumacher, a NHRA National Event Trophy.

Schumacher started the day by defeating Rhonda Hartman-Smith with a 4.679 e.t. at 315.19 mph in Round 1. This was the sixth consecutive race that Schumacher's Dan Olson-tuned dragster ran first round e.t. that was quicker than his qualifying e.t.. This also marked a full year on the NHRA circuit (23 events) without a first round loss.

"Dan and the guys really know how to prepare for race day," said Schumacher, "we should have a very consistent car today."

In Round 2, Schumacher faced Cory McClenathan, who in the past has taken out Schumacher at inopportune times, including last year's U.S. Nationals semifinals. Schumacher ran a 4.702 e.t. at 315.56 mph and defeated McClenathan's 5.551 second pass.

"Cory has given us trouble in the past," said Schumacher, "but Dan and the guys were really prepared for today's conditions. We should be able to run the numbers we'll need to win some more rounds today."

Round 3 would pit Schumacher against Kenny Bernstein. Schumacher left on Bernstein with a .481 second reaction time and ran another consistent run of 4.696 seconds to Bernstein's 4.758 e.t.. That would send Schumacher to his sixth final round appearance of the 2000 season and 15th of his career, to face Joe Amato.

Schumacher left on Amato with a .039 starting line advantage and was able to post his best e.t. of the weekend to claim his second victory in 2000. In addition to his final round 4.648 e.t., Schumacher also used his final pass to post top mph for the event with 316.15 mph.

"This is such a big win for us," said an emotional Schumacher, "to win on Father's day is awesome. This one is for my dad."

"I also want to thank Exide Batteries, Matco Tools, Gates Rubber and all of our sponsors for making it possible for us to experience great days like these."

"There are so many great teams out here. You really have to enjoy it when you win one of these races," added Schumacher.

Schumacher was able to climb back to No. 2 in Winston points, 32 behind Gary Scelzi, as teams head straight to Madison, IL for the Sears Craftsman Nationals.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kenny Bernstein , Rhonda Hartman-Smith , Tony Schumacher , Joe Amato , Gary Scelzi , Cory McClenathan , Don Schumacher