Memphis: Mid-South Nationals post race notes

Post Race Notes: 16th Annual O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals Sept. 18-22, Memphis Motorsports Park, Millington, Tenn. TOP FUEL * Tony Schumacher, from Long Grove, Ill., rebounded from a spectacular crash during Friday's second qualifying session...

Post Race Notes:
16th Annual O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals
Sept. 18-22, Memphis Motorsports Park, Millington, Tenn.


* Tony Schumacher, from Long Grove, Ill., rebounded from a spectacular crash during Friday's second qualifying session to win his second consecutive race and third of the season by defeating category points leader Larry Dixon in the final round on Monday at the rain-delayed event. Schumacher drove his U.S. Army dragster to a pass of 4.581 seconds at 317.79 mph to edge Dixon's Miller Lite dragster, which clocked a run of 4.651 at 319.75. The victory was the 10th of Schumacher's career.

* David Baca earned his second straight No. 1 qualifying position when he blasted his Johnny West-tuned American Racing Wheels dragster to a performance of 4.533 at 319.75 to lead the Top Fuel order. Baca's blast set the Memphis Motorsports Park track E.T. record, while Doug Kalitta set the track speed mark at 327.90 mph in qualifying.

* As a result of his victory, Schumacher moved within one point of third place driver Darrell Russell in the Top Fuel standings. By advancing to his category-best 11th final round of the season, Dixon increased his commanding points lead to 286 over Doug Kalitta, who was defeated by Schumacher in the semifinals.

* The Memphis Motorsports Park faithful witnessed a dramatic display from the final pair of Top Fuel dragsters during the last qualifying session on Friday, as Schumacher's U.S. Army dragster went out of control near the end of the quarter-mile, reminiscent of Dixon's final round crash in the same right lane at Memphis Motorsports Park in 2000. In the left lane, Dixon's Miller Lite rail lifted into a tremendous wheel stand before crashing to the ground and slowing to a pass of 7.072 at 90.11. Neither driver was injured.


* Whit Bazemore, from Indianapolis, claimed the Funny Car points lead for the first time in his career when the veteran driver knocked off Dean Skuza in the Funny Car final. Bazemore earned his third victory of the season and 15th of his career by blasting his Matco Tools Dodge Stratus to a run of 4.894 at 309.42 hold off Skuza's Cornwell Tools Pontiac Firebird, which recorded a run of 5.225 at 227.50.

* Bazemore also earned his second No. 1 qualifying position of the season and 23rd of his career when he powered his Don Schumacher-owned Dodge to a run of 4.826 at 316.67.

* Bazemore's teammate Gary Scelzi, who owns the NHRA Funny Car speed record at 328.06 mph, set the Memphis Motorsports Park track speed record at 322.42 mph in his Oakley Dodge during qualifying.

* With the victory, Bazemore surpassed season-long Funny Car points leader Tony Pedregon and now leads the POWERade points chase as a result of Pedregon's round two defeat to Skuza. Bazemore now leads Pedregon by seven POWERade points, while 12-time NHRA Funny Car champion John Force sits third, 183 points behind rival Bazemore.

* During his semifinal victory over 12-time NHRA Funny Car champion John Force, Skuza suffered a major fire resulting in severe damage to his Cornwell Tools Firebird Funny Car. Skuza's Brian Corradi-led crew and members from other race teams thrashed and repaired the car within the allowed 75 minutes and returned to the starting line in order to race Bazemore in the final round.

* Notable DNQ's: Scotty Cannon failed to make the 16-car cut for the first time May 2001 (Englishtown, N.J.).


* Category points leader Greg Anderson, from Concord, N.C., won his third consecutive race and 13th of his career, besting No. 1 qualifier Jeg Coughlin in the final round. Anderson used a performance of 6.814 at 202.67 in his Vegas General Construction Pontiac Grand Am to drive around Coughlin, who had the advantage at the start and drove to a run of 6.825 at 200.95 in his Jeg's Mail Order Chevy Cavalier. The victory was Anderson's category-leading ninth of the season. He now sits two victories shy of tying Darrell Alderman's (1991) mark of 11 Pro Stock victories in one season.

* Coughlin raced to his second top qualifying position of the season when he drove his yellow and black Chevy to a track record elapsed time of 6.748 at 202.94 to pace the Pro Stock field.

* Anderson also set the Memphis Motorsports Park track speed mark at 204.23 during qualifying.

* Anderson earned a $1,000 bonus by winning the Motel 6 'Who Got The Light' award when he edged Coughlin by 0.0052 of-a-second margin of victory in the Pro Stock final. It marks the second consecutive event that Anderson has earned the Motel 6 bonus award by narrowly defeating Coughlin during eliminations.

* Anderson's victory extended his sizeable points lead over the rest of the Pro Stock competition. He leads Kurt Johnson by 240 points and third-place driver Coughlin by 455 points.

* Notable DNQ's: Troy Coughlin, George Marnell and Mark Pawuk


* Reggie Showers, a double-amputee from Philadelphia, continues to be the hottest rider in the two-wheel category as he raced to his second consecutive victory defeating Fred Collis in an all-Star Racing final round. Showers clocked a run of 7.237 at 182.11 aboard his PDI Suzuki, but was handed the victory when Collis tripped the red-light, fouling at the start on his Area 51 Motorsports Suzuki.

* Three-time NHRA Pro Stock Bike champion Angelle Savoie rode to her second consecutive and third No. 1 qualifying position of the season by blasting her U.S. Army Suzuki to a track record pass of 7.096 at 186.82 to lead Pro Stock Bike qualifying.

* Showers also set the Memphis Motorsports Park track speed record by stopping the clocks at 188.46 mph during qualifying.

* With three events remaining on the Pro Stock Bike schedule, Geno Scali continues to sit atop the POWERade points standings, leading second-place rider Shawn Gann by 133 points. Showers' victory propelled him to the third position. He trails Scali by 163 points.


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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Troy Coughlin , Larry Dixon , Darrell Alderman , Mark Pawuk , Kurt Johnson , Tony Pedregon , Dean Skuza , Whit Bazemore , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , Greg Anderson , Reggie Showers , Shawn Gann , David Baca , Scotty Cannon , Geno Scali , George Marnell , Fred Collis , Don Schumacher