Top Fuel qualifying leader Schumacher in position as favorite for Budweiser Shootout Force, Allen and Scali also are qualifying leaders in their respective categories POMONA, Calif. -- Tony Schumacher staked his claim as the favorite for ...
Top Fuel qualifying leader Schumacher in position as favorite for Budweiser Shootout
Force, Allen and Scali also are qualifying leaders in their respective categories
POMONA, Calif. -- Tony Schumacher staked his claim as the favorite for Saturday's lucrative Budweiser Shootout by posting the quickest Top Fuel run during Friday's qualifying at the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Pomona Raceway.
John Force, Bruce Allen and Geno Scali also were leaders in their respective categories at the $1.7 million race, the final of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
Schumacher, who has won three of the last six races in his U.S. Army dragster, led Top Fuel qualifying with a 4.484 second run at 331.20 mph. Schumacher will face rookie David Baca in the first round of tomorrow's Shootout, a non-points all-star event for the eight best Top Fuel drivers which pays $100,000 to the winner.
"The Budweiser Shootout is big because there's $100,000 on the line," Schumacher said. "We have everything in place to go out there and win that race. That's not saying we're going to do it, because it's the best eight cars running and any one of them can win. But there isn't another car that I would rather be sitting in right now than this U.S. Army dragster."
Force, still nursing the cuts to his hands that nearly forced him to miss the race, continued to lead Funny Car in his Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang with his 4.771 at 321.65 performance from Thursday. His run on Friday ended when his engine caught fire following the run.
"It dropped a (cylinder) out there and slowed down," said Force of the 4.968 at 243.06 effort. "Then I got through the lights and it lit up. There's nothing worse than a fire in a Funny Car except a boring fire, and that one wasn't even close to being exciting. It just burned under the body and junked the underside of my car."
Allen drove the Speedco Pontiac Grand Am to the top of the Pro Stock order, clocking a 6.773 at 203.25.
"In this category being No. 1 is strictly a temporary condition," Allen said. "The conditions will be so much better tomorrow morning, which is always the case here, that we'll see some low 6.7s from lots of cars. Hopefully we'll be one of them. I love racing here. Southern California is where this sport got its start. It's always great to come here and race in front of these great fans."
Scali moved into position to claim his first POWERade Series championship by racing to the front of the Pro Stock Bike order. The Chicago rider clocked a track record performance of 7.108 at 187.70 on his Trim-Tex Suzuki. Scali, who leads three-time defending series champ Angelle Savoie by 117 points, needs only to qualify for this weekend's event to earn the championship title.
"We can clinch (the POWERade championship) for sure if we qualify in the field and once we made that 7.13 pass yesterday we knew that would keep us in so it was basically over," Scali said. "It allowed us to all relax a little bit and concentrate on having fun and enjoying this moment. That 7.10 today was nice. Let me tell you, to rev a bike up to 10,000 rpm, drop that clutch, and shoot out of there is such a rush."
Qualifying continues Saturday at 10:30 a.m.