Joliet: Post race notes

Sixth annual Lucas Oil Route 66 Nationals May 29 - June 1, Route 66 Raceway, Joliet, Ill. TOP FUEL * Tony Schumacher, from Long Grove, Ill., won his first event of the 2003 season and the first since the 2002 Mac Tools U.S. Nationals by ...

Sixth annual Lucas Oil Route 66 Nationals May 29 - June 1, Route 66 Raceway, Joliet, Ill.

TOP FUEL * Tony Schumacher, from Long Grove, Ill., won his first event of the 2003 season and the first since the 2002 Mac Tools U.S. Nationals by defeating Larry Dixon in the final round. The 1999 Top Fuel champion powered his U.S. Army dragster to the finish line in 4.530-seconds at 321.502 mph to outrun Dixon's Miller Lite dragster, which recorded a performance of 4.615 at 321.42. It was the eighth career win for Schumacher and his first at his home track. * Dixon appeared in the final round for the fourth straight race. The NHRA record for consecutive final round appearances by a Top Fuel driver is six held by Dixon (2002), Cory McClenthan (1997) and Scott Kalitta (1994). * With the runner-up performance, Dixon remained the points leader for the fourth consecutive race. Dixon holds a 230 point advantage over Doug Kalitta in the POWERade standings. * Schumacher also was the No. 1 qualifier in the Top Fuel category. He recorded a 4.512 run at 326.16 to top the 16-car field. It is the first No. 1 qualifying effort for the U.S. Army driver this season and fifth of his career. * Dating back to the start of the 2002 POWERade season, Dixon has appeared in 21 of the possible 33 final rounds. Dixon had been the points leader following 28 national events - a Top Fuel record - before Brandon Bernstein bumped Dixon out of first place following the Bristol, Tenn. event. Dixon reclaimed the lead following the next event. * Doug Herbert failed to qualify for the first time in 59 races, snapping the second longest active qualifying streak in Top Fuel. Doug Kalitta has the current longest qualifying streak in the Top Fuel category with 78 consecutive races.

FUNNY CAR * Whit Bazemore, from Indianapolis, earned his second win of the year in his Matco Tools Dodge Stratus R/T. Bazemore's 14th career victory came with a 4.872 pass at 319.67, beating Tommy Johnson Jr.'s 4.839 at 316.97 in his Skoal Racing Chevy Camaro. Bazemore used a reaction time of .069 to Johnson's .152 for the holeshot win. * Bazemore denied Del Worsham the hat trick at Route 66 Raceway, after Worsham won the 2001 and 2002 spring events in Joliet. Bazemore has reached the final round at three consecutive races, winning two of them. He has advanced to at least the semifinals in nine consecutive events. * John Force, from Yorba Linda, Calif., was the No. 1 qualifier in the Funny Car field for the second time this season and the 114th time in his career. He turned in a national record performance of 4.721 in his Ford Mustang to earn 20 additional POWERade points. Force's run of 4.750 during the final qualifying session on Saturday certified the national record within one percent, as required by NHRA rules. * Gary Scelzi, from Fresno, Calif., recorded the top speed of the event and the fastest Funny Car pass in NHRA history driving his Dodge Stratus to a 328.06 mph run in his win over Tim Wilkerson during the first round of eliminations. Scelzi's performance of 327.98 mph during qualifying certified the national record within one percent, as required by NHRA rules. * Force is still winless in the 2003 season. He lost to Joliet native John Lawson in the first round of eliminations. Force lost traction near mid-track, allowing Lawson to win the first round. Lawson went on to advance to the semifinals for the first time in his career after he beat Ron Capps in the quarterfinals before eventually falling to Bazemore in the semifinals. * Tony Pedregon still holds the top spot in the Funny Car standings. Pedregon has been No. 1 following eight of the 10 NHRA events. Bazemore occupies the No. 2 spot, 36 points out of first. Gary Densham is third, 241 points from Pedregon. With the win, Bazemore was able to shave off 58 points from Pedregon's lead.

PRO STOCK * Kurt Johnson, from Buford, Ga., scored his fourth victory of the season and 27th of his career by beating Jeg Coughlin in the final round. Johnson drove his ACDelco Chevy Cavalier to a run of 6.791 at 203.40. Coughlin drove his Jeg's Mail Order Chevy Cavalier to a 6.833 pass at 201.91 in the losing effort. * Greg Anderson, from Charlotte, N.C., continued to dominate Pro Stock qualifying. Anderson was the No. 1 qualifier for the fifth time this season and eighth of his career, turning in a 6.761 run at 203.58 in his Pontiac Grand Am. * Anderson set both ends of the Route 66 Raceway performance records during the first round of eliminations. Anderson turned in a run of 6.751 at 204.23 in his first round win over Jim Yates to establish the track record. * Johnson's victory brings him to the lead of the POWERade standings for the second time in 2003. He leads Anderson by two points, and he has a 204-point lead over his father, Warren Johnson. Also, the win places Johnson fifth on the all-time Pro Stock wins list surpassing the late Lee Shepherd. * Greg Stanfield earned a $1,000 bonus by winning the Motel 6 'Who Got the Light' award when he defeated Mark Pawuk by 0.0067 of-a-second margin of victory in the first round of Pro Stock eliminations. * Notable DNQ's: Warren Johnson, Allen Johnson, Mark Whisnant, Troy Coughlin and V. Gaines.

PRO STOCK BIKE * Defending series champion Angelle Savoie, from New Orleans, notched her 31st career victory and third of the season aboard her Team 23 Suzuki. Savoie recorded the win by outrunning Reggie Showers in the final round. Savoie recorded a 7.123 at 187.16 to Showers' PDI/Damp Rid Suzuki's performance of 7.238 at 184.30. The final round pitted Savoie against her old team owner, George Bryce, who now tunes the Suzuki Hayabusa ridden by Showers. * Geno Scali, from Chicago., earned his third career No. 1 qualifying position, blasting his Trim-Tex Suzuki to the top spot with a performance of 7.139 sec. at 186.36 mph. * With the win, Savoie regained the POWERade points lead from Scali, leading by 10 points. The win moved Savoie up from third place to first, while Shawn Gann is third, 75 points behind Savoie.

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Jeg Coughlin , Troy Coughlin , Larry Dixon , Mark Pawuk , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Tony Pedregon , Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , Greg Anderson , Reggie Showers , Shawn Gann , Gary Densham , Scott Kalitta , Greg Stanfield , Geno Scali , Tim Wilkerson , George Bryce , Brandon Bernstein , Allen Johnson , Mark Whisnant , Tommy Johnson Jr.