Schumacher, Medlen and Anderson Lead Qualifying at K&N Filters Winternationals POMONA, Calif. - Rookie Eric Medlen paced the Funny Car field Friday as the 44th K&N Filters resumed after rain washed out the original race date last...
Schumacher, Medlen and Anderson Lead Qualifying at K&N Filters Winternationals
POMONA, Calif. - Rookie Eric Medlen paced the Funny Car field Friday as the 44th K&N Filters resumed after rain washed out the original race date last weekend.
Tony Schumacher and Greg Anderson also led their respective categories at the $2 million race, the first of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
Medlen drove his Castrol Syntec Ford Mustang down the quarter-mile track in 4.792 seconds at 306.46 mph to lead the second of four qualifying sessions. Medlen has led the Funny Car field after both sessions, the first two runs of his professional career.
"It felt great as far as the run itself," Medlen said. "Some of the guys in front of us were going to the left and (assistant crew chief) Bernie Fedderly made me aware of that. I heard a pop near the end of the track and it felt like (something was wrong). But I was so close to the end that I stayed in it."
The run bumped his boss and teammate, John Force, out of the No. 1 spot. Force used a 4.834 pass at 318.92 in his Castrol GTX Mustang to jump to the top of the standings. Force was in the No. 1 qualifying spot until the last pair of the session. That's when Medlen reclaimed the provisional No. 1 spot.
"John did me a favor by letting me drive the car and I thought I would do him a favor by letting him be at the top for a couple of runs," Medlen said. "Don't tell him I said that."
Schumacher's 4.514 at 326.32 in the U.S. Army dragster leads the Top Fuel category. He earned those numbers during the first session, held Feb. 19.
Schumacher may be at the top of the qualifying order still, but the team was looking to improve their numbers on Friday.
"I'm not sure what happened," Schumacher said. "We just have to work out some issues. I wish I could tell you I shut it off, but I didn't do that. That is the slowest run we have made in a long time. Something is just biting us and we will just have to figure it out."
Regardless of the less than desirable performance, Schumacher said he was thrilled to be back in the U.S. Army cockpit.
"We had four days off and it felt like 10 days," Schumacher said. "You're excited and pumped and it rained and while it was great that I got to spend time with the family, I couldn't wait to race."
Anderson drove his Vegas General Construction Pontiac Grand Am to the top spot with a 6.730 at 204.57 to set the track record for time. Anderson set 19 track records in 2003 en route to the Pro Stock championship.
"I'm happy but at the same time I am scratching my head wondering why so many cars had trouble getting down the track," Anderson said. "I still think there is room for improvement but I feel good about the run right now."
Qualifying continues Saturday with sessions at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Final eliminations are set for 11 a.m. Sunday