Schumacher to start title defense from top half of the field Pomona, CA (February 5): As the clouds rolled in over the Fairplex in Pomona, the first Top Fuel field of the 2000 NHRA Winston Championship season was set and teams prepared their...
Schumacher to start title defense from top half of the field
Pomona, CA (February 5): As the clouds rolled in over the Fairplex in Pomona, the first Top Fuel field of the 2000 NHRA Winston Championship season was set and teams prepared their cars for the running of the 40th Annual AutoZone WinterNationals. Tony Schumacher and Team Exide's title defense will officially begin with Sunday eliminations at the track where their last appearance clinched the 1999 Championship title.
Schumacher's day began with a pass of 4.658 seconds at 322.42 mph. The run was good enough to bump Team Exide up one position to fourth. Schumacher also took the top speed of the event away from Joe Amato. Schumacher and crew chief, Dan Olson, were showing the speed that allowed them to set top speed at 14 of the 22 events in 1999.
"Dan's tune-up makes so much horsepower at the top end of the track," said Schumacher, "if we can get out ahead at half track, its going to be tough to catch us."
The last qualifying session of the day would decide the 16-car field that would compete on Sunday and the four competitors that would head for home earlier than expected. The Team Exide car ran another consistent 4.685 ET at 318.09 mph. Schumacher's earlier run was quick enough to keep the fourth qualifying position and he will face the 13th qualifier, Don Lampus, in the first round of eliminations.
"I am so happy to get the season going," said Schumacher, "the whole team is really working hard to pick up where we left off."
"We are really happy to have some new sponsors with us this season. Matco Tools and Gates Belts & Hoses have joined us this year, along with all the great sponsors we had last year. We would love to welcome them aboard with a victory on Sunday."
Driver introductions for the 40th Annual AutoZone WinterNationals are scheduled for 10:30 am Sunday with eliminations beginning at 11:00 am. Check your local listings for television coverage times.