Memphis: Schumacher leads qualifying on Saturday

MILLINGTON, Tenn. - Defending NHRA Winston Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher claimed the No. 1 qualifying position in Top Fuel for the AutoZone Nationals at Memphis Motorsports Park Saturday but his status for tomorrow's 11 a.m. eliminations...

MILLINGTON, Tenn. - Defending NHRA Winston Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher claimed the No. 1 qualifying position in Top Fuel for the AutoZone Nationals at Memphis Motorsports Park Saturday but his status for tomorrow's 11 a.m. eliminations remains unclear after receiving injuries when his U.S. Army dragster crashed during the final qualifying session. Schumacher recorded a track record 4.552-second pass during the first of two qualifying runs for the day to lead the 16-car field. However, on his final qualifying attempt, Schumacher's dragster went out of control and crashed. The 30-year-old Park Ridge, Ill. driver was extracted from his car by track emergency services officials and transported to the Regional Medical Center in Memphis where he was listed in non-critical condition and was still being evaluated at press time. Should Schumacher, who is currently 49 points behind leader Gary Scelzi in the NHRA Winston Top Fuel championship standings, be cleared by medical officials to compete tomorrow, he will face Rhonda Hartman-Smith in the first round. John Force, Scott Geoffrion and Greg Stanfield will lead their respective categories into competition at the $1.8 million race, the 20th of 23 events in the $45 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. Force, from Yorba Linda, Calif., earned his ninth No. 1 qualifying position of the season, posting a track-record time of 4.870 at 304.94 in his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang to lead the quickest 16-car Funny Car field in NHRA history. Geoffrion, from San Juan Capistrano, Calif., clocked the quickest Pro Stock run in NHRA history to take his first No. 1 qualifying award of the season in his Dodge Avenger. He sped down the quarter-mile with a track record run of 6.809 seconds at 201.43 mph to earn his first No. 1 position since this event in 1995. To make the elapsed time an NHRA national record, Geoffrion needs to back up the run within one percent as required by NHRA rules. Stanfield, from Bossier City, La., paced the quickest Pro Stock Truck field in NHRA history, posting a national record run of 7.438 at 180.69 in a Chevy S-10.

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Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Rhonda Hartman-Smith , Tony Schumacher , Gary Scelzi , Greg Stanfield , Scott Geoffrion