Chandler, AZ (February 26): Warmer temperatures made for slicker track conditions as the last day of the qualifying for the CSK Nationals got underway at Firebird International Raceway. Tony Schumacher and Team Exide finished the day in the No. 4...
Chandler, AZ (February 26): Warmer temperatures made for slicker track conditions as the last day of the qualifying for the CSK Nationals got underway at Firebird International Raceway. Tony Schumacher and Team Exide finished the day in the No. 4 qualifying spot for Sunday's final eliminations as they try to overtake Gary Scelzi for the points lead.
During the first session of the day, the track seemed to favor the right lane and unfortunately, Schumacher was scheduled to make a pass in the left. The car left hard, but found its way spinning the tires at the top end of the racetrack. Schumacher's pass of 5.178 seconds at 198.64 mph did not improve his position in the standings.
"The car was really close to making it down the track," commented Schumacher, "we just had a little to much clutch in it."
After two lengthy delays, Schumacher and Team Exide staged their car for the final qualifying attempt of the day as cooler temperatures from the setting sun provided much better conditions. Team Exide took advantage of the situation and ran a 4.671 ET at 317.27 mph and improved to the No. 4 spot ahead of Melanie Troxel.
"We were hoping to stand on it a little harder," said the reigning NHRA Winston champion, Schumacher, "but the way everyone was having troubles this morning, we wanted to be able to get down the track."
Crew chief, Dan Olson added, "We took about 2000 horsepower out of the motor at the top end of the track to keep from smoking the tires."
Schumacher will once again face reigning IHRA Top Fuel champion, Don Lampus in the first round. "We ran each other in the first round at the Winternationals and look what we did," Schumacher said referring to his eventual final round appearance against Gary Scelzi.
"This is no easy race for us. Don has always been there when we run against him. We seem to race each other as much as Bernstein and Dixon."
Should the Exide team advance to the semifinals, there is a possibility for a rematch against the Winston driver. Starting from the same position as they did at the Winternationals earlier in the month, the Exide Team is looking for another trip to the finals.
Opening ceremonies are scheduled to begin at 10:00am with Final eliminations following at 11:00am.