CLERMONT, Ind. -- Defending Mac Tools U.S. Nationals winners Tony Schumacher and Greg Anderson clocked the quick passes Tuesday at Indianapolis Raceway Park during the opening day of testing for the world's most prestigious drag race. NHRA teams...
CLERMONT, Ind. -- Defending Mac Tools U.S. Nationals winners Tony Schumacher and Greg Anderson clocked the quick passes Tuesday at Indianapolis Raceway Park during the opening day of testing for the world's most prestigious drag race.
NHRA teams are utilizing the two-day test session in preparation for the 50th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, Sept. 1-6, at the multi-purpose motorsports complex located just west of downtown Indianapolis. The $2.2 million race is the 18th of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
Schumacher - the Top Fuel points leader - drove his U.S. Army dragster to a time of 4.652 seconds at 311.63 mph for the best time in his own car. David Grubnic posted the quickest Top Fuel time - a 4.636 at 310.84 in teammate's Scott Kalitta's car.
The test session was cut short due to a rain storm shortly after 6 p.m. Weather permitting, teams will begin testing again at 8 a.m. Wednesday. The test session is closed to the public.
Brandon Bernstein is third in the Top Fuel points ladder and is chasing Schumacher and second-place Doug Kalitta. Bernstein drove his Budweiser/Lucas Oil dragster to a 4.883 run at 227.84.
"It was a good first day," Bernstein said. "We're trying to learn new things and Tim (Richards, crew chief) is trying a lot of new stuff. The first run we shook quite a bit, but the second run was good. We'll just come back and try again tomorrow."
Bernstein and Kalitta have just six events to catch Schumacher for the rights to the NHRA POWERade Top Fuel championship.
"We're always trying to learn something and obviously testing (at IRP) could be very helpful in finding a good tune-up for the U.S. Nationals," Bernstein said.
Australian Andrew Cowin made his return to NHRA racing Tuesday. After more than a calendar year away from drag racing, Cowin turned in a 4.770 run at 302. 96 in his family-owned Rocket Industries dragster.
In Funny Car, Gary Scelzi led the way with a 4.821 at 321.73 in his Oakley Dodge Stratus. Teammate Whit Bazemore drove to a 4.858 at 313.07 in his Matco Tools Dodge Stratus.
Greg Anderson, a two-time U.S. Nationals winner, continued to set the pace in Pro Stock with the quickest run of the day. He drove his Summit Racing Equipment Pontiac Grand Am to a 6.840 at 201.61. Anderson, who leads the POWERade point standings, has 12 national event victories this season which ties his record-setting 12 wins in 2003.
Anderson also has 12 No. 1 qualifying awards and is searching for the perfect tune-up to defend his event title. Teammate Jason Line also took part in the test session, clocking a best run of 6.847 at 201.52 for the second-best time in the category.
"We made four passes for each car today and that's bound to help us when we all come back for next week's big U.S. Nationals," Anderson said. "Anytime we can test on the same track that is hosting the next event, it can't be anything but helpful for this team.
"We want to defend our U.S. Nationals title because that was one of the most satisfying victories of my career so far. We want to get the win but we need to do some more testing first. We saw some good things in both cars today, but there is always room for improvement."
Steve Johnson rode the quickest Pro Stock Bike during testing, posting a 7.234 at 185.43 on his K&N Filters Suzuki.
<pre> Best runs, by category and driver, for the Tuesday test session Indianapolis Raceway Park Tuesday, 8/24/2004:
Top Fuel David Grubnic * 4.636 310.84 Tony Schumacher 4.652 311.63 David Grubnic 4.668 308.64 Larry Dixon 4.717 267.08 Cory McClenathan 4.738 311.70 Andrew Cowin 4.770 302.96 Brandon Bernstein 4.883 227.84 Doug Foley 11.947 76.12
* In Scott Kalitta's car.
Funny Car Gary Scelzi 4.821 321.73 Whit Bazemore 4.858 313.07 John Force 4.901 312.71 Eric Medlen 4.989 282.60 Tommy Johnson Jr. 5.025 68.48 Del Worsham 5.098 268.06 Gary Densham 5.568 178.95 Phil Burkart 5.665 172.63 Jerry Toliver 6.488 311.70 Ron Capps 6.608 137.18 Tony Pedregon 8.181 104.35
Pro Stock Greg Anderson 6.840 201.61 Jason Line 6.847 201.52 Steve Schmidt 6.871 200.74 Mark Whisnant 6.896 200.95 Dave Howard 6.908 200.23 Ron Krisher 6.922 200.11 Kevin Lawrence 6.960 110.40 Ben Watson 6.966 198.20 Ronnie Humphrey 7.050 196.50 Craig Hankenson 7.081 167.22
Pro Stock Bike Steve Johnson 7.234 185.43 Fred Camarana 7.605 163.79