Park Ridge, IL (November 8): Prerace: As the NHRA Winston Drag Racing season draws to a close this weekend at the Auto Club NHRA Finals, November 11-14, at Pomona Raceway, Tony Schumacher and the Exide Batteries Team look forward to claiming...
Park Ridge, IL (November 8): Prerace: As the NHRA Winston Drag Racing season draws to a close this weekend at the Auto Club NHRA Finals, November 11-14, at Pomona Raceway, Tony Schumacher and the Exide Batteries Team look forward to claiming their first NHRA Winston Championship. All Schumacher and team need to do is qualify for the event and they will clinch the 1999 title.
Asked about how they would approach the event, Schumacher responded, "This isn't like golf where you can lay up for par. We have to go out and run the car as hard as we would if we were not in this position in the points chase."
"If we soften the car, we risk the chance of shaking the tires."
Schumacher should have little concern as his Dan Olson-tuned dragster has qualified for every event of the 1999 season. Schumacher is also spending much time trying to focus on the upcoming event as many fans have already handed him the championship trophy.
"Mathematically it isn't over and I don't expect Gary (Scelzi) and Alan (Johnson) to just hand it over to us. They will make us work hard for it like any other team out there would. That's the greatest part of NHRA Winston drag racing."
"We just have to go out and run our race. We would like to win the Big Bud Shootout as well as the race. That's what we will be there to try to do."
Schumacher and team have accomplished many goals in a short time and have performed above the expectations of car owner, Don Schumacher, who formed this team a little over a year ago.
"It's been an amazing year for Dan (Olson), Tony and the whole Exide team. We have really come together as a team and the guys have worked so hard to get to this point."
Some of the highlights of Team Exide's 1999 season include the sport's first 330 mph pass in Phoenix, setting the national mph record in Dallas, and the team's first victory, also in Dallas. The Exide team has also set many track mph records along the NHRA trail and have chalked up seven of the top ten fastest speeds in NHRA history.
As Team Exide prepares to add a Winston Championship to that list, they are scheduled to make one qualifying attempt on Thursday and Friday. Two qualifying attempts will accompany the Big Bud Shootout on Saturday and Final Eliminations are scheduled to begin Sunday at 11am.
"So many people have worked so hard for this Championship over the years. I feel very fortunate to be in a position to win it for the Exide team. Any number of people could have won it this year," said Tony Schumacher, "it's hard to say how much this means to me with so many great drivers out there."