Pomona, CA (November 12): Tony Schumacher and Team Exide came to day two of the Auto Club NHRA Finals looking to secure their position in the 16-car field and better their chances on claiming the 1999 Winston NHRA Top Fuel Championship. Tony ...
Pomona, CA (November 12): Tony Schumacher and Team Exide came to day two of the Auto Club NHRA Finals looking to secure their position in the 16-car field and better their chances on claiming the 1999 Winston NHRA Top Fuel Championship.
Tony Schumacher, only needing to qualify to become the Winston Champion, waited patiently all day amid well wishes from the large number of fans congregating near his pit area. "It's not over until Saturday afternoon and we are here to try to win the race," said Schumacher.
After qualifying ninth the first day, Team Exide knew they needed to post a much better number to be comfortable going into Saturday's sessions, which include eliminations for the $100,000 Big Bud Shootout. "We want to be solidly in the field so we can go for the Big Bud money," commented the Exide driver.
Schumacher and team once again showed they are worthy of the NHRA title as they rocketed down the quarter mile with a 4.574 e.t. at 327.03 mph, the fourth fastest speed in NHRA history and at the time, the No. 1 qualifying spot. Defending Winston champion, Gary Scelzi eventually took the No. 1 spot from Schumacher by .004 seconds by running a 4.570 e.t..
"We knew Gary and Team Winston would fight to the end," said Schumacher, " that's why we must stay focused and not get caught in celebrating before it is over."
Schumacher will face Larry Dixon as his first round opponent for the Big Bud Shootout and is looking forward to participating in this prestigious event.
"This is a really big honor for our team. Not only is it an all-star event, but we had to earn our way into the field," Schumacher commented.
Schumacher's qualifying effort should make the elite 16-car field for Sunday eliminations. When the day ends on Saturday and the field is set, Schumacher and Team Exide will officially clinch the world title.