Somona, Calif. (August 4): After a disappointing first round loss in Seattle last week, Tony Schumacher and the Exide Batteries team came to the Fram Autolite Nationals at Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma, California to continue their points ...
Somona, Calif. (August 4): After a disappointing first round loss in Seattle last week, Tony Schumacher and the Exide Batteries team came to the Fram Autolite Nationals at Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma, California to continue their points chase of Gary Scelzi as they defend their 1999 Top Fuel Championship.
At last year's Fram Autolite Nationals, Schumacher was the class of the field. Only a mechanical failure in the final round against Doug Kalitta kept the Exide team out of the winner's circle.
In the first qualifying session of the day, Schumacher and his teammates made a run of 4.782 seconds at 300.33 mph to capture the pole position. The track was very tricky in the heat of the day which made the run even more impressive.
"That was a pretty decent pass considering the track conditions this afternoon," said Schumacher, "we hope to step on it a little tonight."
Temperatures for the night session of qualifying dropped dramatically and the cool California air combined with the track conditions made for the possibility for even better e.t.'s.
By the time Schumacher made his pass, the track was very cold and many teams in the same lane before him had problems with tire smoke. Schumacher was able to negotiate the first part of the track but began to haze the tires as he completed the quarter-mile racing surface. Schumacher's 4.759 e.t. at 311.70 mph was only good enough for the No. 7 position.
"We thought we could run a little quicker," said Schumacher, "but it's more important to get a good setup for Sunday and we won't see these conditions on Sunday."
The Fran Autolite Nationals continue on Saturday with two additional qualifying session scheduled for noon and 4pm.