SCHUMACHER, WILKERSON, LINE AND KRAWIEC WIN TIRE KINGDOM NHRA GATORNATIONALS GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Tony Schumacher raced to his first victory of the season and in the process moved into the NHRA Full Throttle Series points lead Sunday at the Tire...
SCHUMACHER, WILKERSON, LINE AND KRAWIEC WIN TIRE KINGDOM NHRA GATORNATIONALS
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Tony Schumacher raced to his first victory of the season and in the process moved into the NHRA Full Throttle Series points lead Sunday at the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway.
Tim Wilkerson, Jason Line and Eddie Krawiec also were winners in their respective categories at the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event.
Schumacher earned his fourth Gatornationals win and 62nd of his career by powering his U.S. Army dragster to a performance of 3.797 seconds at 322.04 mph while teammate Antron Brown's Matco Tools dragster lost traction in the runner-up effort.
The seven-time Top Fuel world champ beat Terry McMillen, Doug Foley and rival Larry Dixon to advance to the final round.
"It was a perfect win for this team," said Schumacher, who posted the national speed record at 324.98 mph in a thrilling side-by-side win over Dixon in the semifinals. "This is something we needed to do. Now we're in the points lead and that's important as we go to Charlotte for the four-wide race."
Wilkerson scored his 14th career victory by holding off defending race winner and teammate Bob Tasca in the Funny Car final. Wilkerson's Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Mustang finished in 4.097 at 303.78, while Tasca's Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang trailed with a 4.192 at 287.17.
Wilkerson beat Jeff Arend, top qualifier Matt Hagan and two-time world champ Tony Pedregon to advance to the final round, his first at the Gatornationals.
"When you run well and you run consistent, people will show you enough respect to try pretty hard against you," Wilkerson said. "We did have a good day today. I'm not going to say we were world-beaters, but we made some pretty darn good runs to keep them on their toes."
Line used a quicker reaction time to defeat Mike Edwards in the Pro Stock final. Line claimed his 21st career win, first of the season and second-straight at this event with a winning performance of 6.581 at 210.14 in his Summit Racing Pontiac GXP to overcome Edwards' quicker, but losing Penhall/Interstate Batteries GXP, which posted a 6.556 at 211.16.
"It really wasn't a good weekend, actually," Line said. "We started out awful, and I didn't think we were going to qualify. Going into the third session, I really felt like this was going to be the time we didn't qualify. But we got it done somehow. We didn't run great, that's for sure, but I guess right now the only way to beat Mike is with your left foot because you're not going to outrun him. Fortunately, he gave us the opening, and we managed to get it done somehow."
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Krawiec claimed his sixth career victory with a 6.899 at 195.68 on his Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to beat surprise finalist Shawn Gann, who posted a 6.908 at 194.21 on his RumBum Buell. It was Gann's first final round appearance since 2004.
"Gainesville is very special to me," said 2008 world champ Krawiec, who beat Angie Smith, Steve Johnson and Craig Treble in the first three rounds. "Years ago when I first started out, I wanted to win here. To finally get a win here, I can't be any more excited. We ended 2009 with a win in Pomona and to start 2010 with another one is awesome."
Top qualifier Karen Stoffer earned a 20-point bonus for setting the national elapsed time record with a 6.847-second run on her GEICO Powersports Suzuki in the first-round, but was upset in the quarterfinals by Gann.
The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series continues March 25-28 with the 4-Wide NHRA Nationals at zMAX Dragway near Charlotte, N.C.