Phoenix: Schumacher finals qualification

Chandler, Ariz. (Feb. 17): As he tries to win his first event of the 2001 NHRA Championship season, Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher will start from the No. 4 qualifying position for the 17th Annual Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals at Firebird ...

Chandler, Ariz. (Feb. 17): As he tries to win his first event of the 2001 NHRA Championship season, Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher will start from the No. 4 qualifying position for the 17th Annual Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals at Firebird Raceway in Chandler, Arizona.

In Schumacher's two Saturday qualifying runs, he failed to improve on his previous best e.t. of 4.591 seconds. In the first run of the day, Schumacher dropped a cylinder early and was only able to make a 4.654 second pass.

"If we could keep all eight cylinders lit, we could run some impressive numbers," said Schumacher.

In the final session before Sunday's eliminations, Schumacher smoked the tires on the hit of the throttle and coasted down the track in 12.4 seconds at only 78.03 mph.

"We had a major clutch malfunction," said a disappointed U.S. Army driver, "we hoped to run for the No. 1 spot with the way the weather and track conditions were today."

"We had a similar problem last year in Chicago and hadn't seen that since. At least it wasn't on race day," add Schumacher.

"The Sarge" will face Robert Reehl in the first round of final eliminations. Reehl's best qualifying run was a 4.760 e.t. at 295.72 mph. Final eliminations are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Mountain time.

"We are planning a better showing than we had in Pomona," said Schumacher, "(Gary) Scelzi, (Mike) Dunn and Darrell Russell are all on our side of the ladder, so it will definitely be a battle."

-DeLille

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Series NHRA
Drivers Robert Reehl