MORRISON, Colo. (July 16): After posting the quickest and most consistent times of final eliminations, Tony Schumacher was stunned in the final round of the Mopar Parts Mile High Nationals by Joe Amato and had to settle for a runner-up ...
MORRISON, Colo. (July 16): After posting the quickest and most consistent times of final eliminations, Tony Schumacher was stunned in the final round of the Mopar Parts Mile High Nationals by Joe Amato and had to settle for a runner-up finish.
The day started with drastic changes to the Exide dragster tune-up for the first round of eliminations. The team felt that during the final qualifying session on Saturday, they had discovered a tune-up that would help them make a run for their third victory of the 2000 season.
Schumacher showed that tune-up in the first round as he defeated Doug Herbert with a 4.755 second run at 304.87 mph, which was the quickest of the first round.
"Dan and the guys got some really valuable data in the last qualifying session yesterday," said Schumacher, "we hope to go some rounds today."
Schumacher also looked to gain on points leader Gary Scelzi, as Scelzi was upset in the first round due to a mechanical failure. Schumacher's second round opponent was Larry Dixon.
Though Dixon had a slight starting line advantage, Schumacher again ran low e.t. of the round with a 4.736 at 307.37 mph and Dixon lost traction at half track.
"That one feels good to win," said Schumacher, "Larry (Dixon) and the Miller Lite team are in the points chase with us and they are always a tough opponent."
In the semifinals, Schumacher faced Don Lampus. Though new to the NHRA tour, Lampus is a very strong competitor and was running very consistently throughout the weekend.
Schumacher again showed what his Dan Olson-tuned dragster was capable of, as he made another 4.70s run. He was the only car to run in the .70s in all three rounds. His 4.761 e.t. was good enough to defeat Lampus and send Schumacher to Team Exide's seventh final round appearance of the year.
Knowing he had run consistently better all day, Schumacher was more than surprised as he slowed to a 4.913 e.t. at 281.36 mph to Amato's 4.837 second run. The margin of victory for Amato was .055 seconds.
"We really aren't sure what happened to the car," said Schumacher, "we'll have to look at the computer and see if we had a failure because that was not the number we had planned to run."
"The weekend was still a success for us in the points battle," Schumacher added referring to cutting Gary Scelzi's Winston point lead to 39.