Phoenix testing final summary

Russell and Team Schumacher funny cars post top NHRA testing performances at Phoenix. CHANDLER, Ariz. -- Top Fuel driver Darrell Russell and Schumacher Racing Funny Car drivers Whit Bazemore and Gary Scelzi made the quickest test runs of the ...

Russell and Team Schumacher funny cars post top NHRA testing performances at Phoenix.

CHANDLER, Ariz. -- Top Fuel driver Darrell Russell and Schumacher Racing Funny Car drivers Whit Bazemore and Gary Scelzi made the quickest test runs of the weekend in their respective categories at the National Time Trials at Firebird International Raceway near Phoenix.

NHRA teams are practicing for the 23-race $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, which begins Feb. 19-22 with the 44th annual K&N Filters Winternationals at Pomona Raceway in Pomona, Calif.

Russell, the 2001 NHRA Rookie of the Year, made the quickest and fastest pass of the three-day trial in the Joe Amato-owned Bilstein dragster, recording a pass of 4.52 seconds at 313.00 mph. Russell's performance was followed by Tony Schumacher, driver of the U.S. Army dragster, who posted a top pass of 4.610 at 264.75. Two-time NHRA POWERade Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon and the Miller Lite team also recorded a 4.61 effort down the quarter-mile, slowing to a speed of 287.29 in the planned early shut-off.

Schumacher Racing's Funny Car teams continued to establish themselves as legitimate contenders for the 2004 POWERade crown. Bazemore, who finished second in the 2003 final standings, used the last day of the trial to make his best pass. The driver of the Matco Tools Dodge Stratus made a complete run, shutting the clocks off at 4.929 at 309.98.

Bazemore's teammate, Scelzi, also had an impressive time trial, recording passes of 4.938 at 290.38 and a time of 4.997 during Saturday's sessions. Scelzi, a three-time Top Fuel champion, holds the five fastest Funny Car speeds in his Oakley Dodge.

Phil Burkart, driver of the Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird, was among the quick Funny Car runs of the weekend with his 4.98 second run. John Force, 12-time NHRA Funny Car champion, recorded a 4.99 second run in the Castrol GTX High-Mileage Ford Mustang and was matched by Skoal Racing's Ron Capps, also posting a 4.99.

-nhra-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Joe Amato , Gary Scelzi , Phil Burkart