Defending POWERade World Champs Schumacher and Force Open 2005 Season With Qualifying Lead at Carquest Auto Parts Winternationals POMONA, Calif. -- Defending NHRA POWERade Series world champions Tony Schumacher and John Force opened the 2005...
Defending POWERade World Champs Schumacher and Force Open 2005 Season With Qualifying Lead at Carquest Auto Parts Winternationals
POMONA, Calif. -- Defending NHRA POWERade Series world champions Tony Schumacher and John Force opened the 2005 season by racing to the qualifying lead in their respective categories Thursday at the CARQUEST Auto Parts Winternationals at Pomona Raceway.
The $2 million race is the first of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
Schumacher clocked a run of 4.487 seconds at 321.04 mph to lead the Top Fuel field in his U.S. Army dragster.
"It's a long season and that's just one run, but it was a great run," Schumacher said. "Now we just have to stay focused for the next 200 runs. The surface here is great; it's going to be fast. We even dropped a cylinder on that run, so we'll take what we learned here and run even faster on our next runs. It wouldn't surprise me to see mid- to low-40s over the next couple of days."
Force powered his Castrol Start Up Ford Mustang to a 4.697 at 329.26 to set the pace in Funny Car.
"We know this car knows how to run 4.60s," Force said. "We weren't really trying to do it that time, maybe just a low 4.70, but it just went down there. The new concrete they poured is nice and smooth. It used to be that I'd always rattle the tires a little at the hit (of the throttle) but this time it didn't. I could see for the first time ever here. Whatever (Pomona Raceway) spent to fix it was worth it."
Mike Edwards led Pro Stock in his Young Life Pontiac Grand Am with a performance of 6.732 at 205.13.
"This is a great way to start the season and the year," Edwards said. "I realize a lot of good cars didn't get down the track that time but we all had the same chance. I think with the rumors of the weather turning on us tomorrow that it got on people's minds that we might lose a round. I know we were thinking about it. Maybe some folks were too aggressive.
"For us, this is really just the product of burning a lot of gas this off-season in the dyno room and in testing. This is the same car we had and we really didn't need to do much to it. We just kept Frank in the dyno room chasing horsepower."
Defending Pro Stock champ Greg Anderson, the 2004 Driver of the Year, had mechanical problems in his Grand Am and didn't post a run quick enough to make the 16-car lineup.
Qualifying continues Friday with a session at 2:30 p.m.