POST RACE NOTES: 21ST ANNUAL CHECKER SCHUCK'S KRAGEN NHRA NATIONALS FEB. 25-27, FIREBIRD INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY, CHANDLER, ARIZ. TOP FUEL * Defending POWERade world champion Tony Schumacher earned...
POST RACE NOTES:
21ST ANNUAL CHECKER SCHUCK'S KRAGEN NHRA NATIONALS
FEB. 25-27, FIREBIRD INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY, CHANDLER, ARIZ.
* Defending POWERade world champion Tony Schumacher earned his 22nd career victory behind the wheel of his U.S. Army dragster and his third overall at FIR ('00, '02, '05). Schumacher covered the quarter-mile in 4.485 seconds at 329.50 mph, outrunning Morgan Lucas who rolled through the lights in 4.967 at 207.53 in the Lucas Oil/Keystone dragster.
* Schumacher, from Long Grove, Ill., also was the No. 1 qualifier for the second consecutive event and for the 13th time in his career. He drove the U.S. Army dragster to a track record time of 4.474 at 326.24 to lead all competitors.
* Brandon Bernstein, who was the two-time defending event winner at FIR, established a track record for speed when he blasted his Budweiser/Lucas Oil dragster to the finish line at 333.74. The previous track record was 330.23, which Schumacher set in 1999 when he became the first driver in NHRA history to eclipse the 330-mph barrier.
* Dating back to Las Vegas 2 of the 2004 season, Lucas and Schumacher have met in the final round at three of the last four events, with Schumacher collecting all three victories against the 21-year-old Southern California native.
* Schumacher's victory moved the two-time series champ ('99, '00) atop the NHRA POWERade standings with 176 points, five more than fellow two-time Top Fuel world champion Scott Kalitta (1994-'95) and seven more points than Lucas.
* The crew members on Tony Schumacher's U.S. Army dragster collected $3,000 for winning the Full Throttle Pit Crew Championship at this event.
* John Force collected his 115th career victory, and his eighth overall at FIR. The 13-time NHRA POWERade world champion covered the distance in 4.802 seconds at 324.12 mph in his Castrol GTX Start Up Ford Mustang to beat Ron Capps' Brut Dodge Stratus to the finish line. Capps, who has not visited the winner's circle since 2003 at FIR, recorded a final round performance of 4.856 at 321.27 in a losing effort, but was able to make his first final round appearance since his runner-up finish at Englishtown, N.J., in 2003.
* With the win, Force upped his head-to-head record against Capps to 34-7 overall and 7-2 in final round meetings.
* Tony Pedregon earned his second No. 1 qualifying award of the season and the 30th of his career when he covered the distance in a track record time of 4.703 at 325.06 in his Q-Racing Chevy Monte Carlo.
* The newest driver for Force Racing, rookie Robert Hight, set the track record for speed when he reached 329.99 during qualifying. Hight, who is married to Force's oldest daughter Adria, qualified a career-best No. 2 in his second career start in the Auto Club of Southern California Ford Mustang.
* Phil Burkart, who was the runner-up at the season-opener, advanced to the semifinals in his blue Checker Schuck's Kragen Monte Carlo before being eliminated by Capps. His performance, combined with the first round loss of Tommy Johnson Jr., moved the 36-year-old Burkart atop the POWERade point standings for the first time in his career. Force jumped to the No. 2 spot in the standings, 12 points behind Burkart. Johnson dropped to the No. 3 spot, 20 points out of first.
* The crew members on John Force's Castrol GTX Start Up Mustang collected $3,000 for winning the Full Throttle Pit Crew Championship at this event.
* Allen Johnson, from Greeneville, Tenn., earned his third career victory and first since Atlanta 2002, driving his J&J Racing Team Mopar Dodge Stratus to the finish line ahead of Ron Krisher's Valvoline Chevy Cavalier. Johnson's Stratus recorded a performance of 6.801 at 202.36 to outrun Krisher's Cavalier which posted a final pass of 6.887 at 190.65. Last season Johnson was 8-16 in elimination rounds. After the first two races of 2005, Johnson has nearly matched last season's round-win total with a 5-1 record.
* The last final round appearance for both Johnson and Krisher came in 2003 at St. Louis, where Krisher outran Johnson for the victory. This was the first Pro Stock victory for Dodge since Larry Morgan won the 2002 event at Sonoma, Calif.
* Richie Stevens, from New Orleans, collected his second career No. 1 qualifying award, his first such honor since he led the field at Topeka, Kan., in 1999. Stevens' Team Mopar Stratus shut the clocks off at 6.735 at a track record speed of 205.35 to lead the 16-car field and give Schumacher Racing its first Pro Stock No. 1 qualifying position.
* Johnson's victory moved him atop the POWERade standings for the first time in his career. He holds a two-point advantage over Krisher and a 15-point lead over third-place Warren Johnson.
* Two-time defending NHRA POWERade world champion Greg Anderson was eliminated in the first round by Jeg Coughlin. Anderson, who has dominated the category for the past two years and led the 2004 point standings for the entire season, is currently 10th, 81 points out of first. During the entire 2004 season, Anderson had two first round losses and he did not lose in the second round all year. Through the first two races of 2005 he has been defeated once in the first round and once in the second round.
* Krisher earned a $1,000 bonus for earning the Motel 6 'Who Got the Light' award when he defeated Dave Connolly by 0.0035 of-a-second margin in the first round of Pro Stock eliminations.
* The crew members on Richie Stevens' Team Mopar Stratus collected $1,500 for winning the Full Throttle Pit Crew Championship at this event.