Seattle: Final eliminations report

KENT, Wash. - John Force earned his 112th career NHRA Funny Car victory Sunday during the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Pacific Raceways. Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel) and Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) also earned victories in their respective...

KENT, Wash. - John Force earned his 112th career NHRA Funny Car victory Sunday during the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Pacific Raceways.

Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel) and Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) also earned victories in their respective categories at the $1.4 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event.

Force earned his third win of the season with a 4.896-second pass at 309.34 mph in his Castrol GTX Start Up Ford Mustang. He beat Cruz Pedregon's 5.633 at 194.91 in his Advance Auto Parts Chevy Monte Carlo.

Force has 12 NHRA championships to accompany his 112 trophies. The current points leader said the standings could change at any time.

"Schumacher and I got some points today and we were talking about it," Force said. "The problem is, we could both be caught in one or two races so we have to stay after it. There is no quit on this team so we should stay in the fight."

The crew chiefs earned their money on Sunday, as the weather proved to be drastically cooler than qualifying rounds. Saturday's qualifying sessions saw track temperatures in the 140s, while the opening round track temperature was 85 degrees.

"As it got hotter this weekend it really played into our hands for some reason," Force said. "The new track, the 85-percent nitro rule, for whatever reason, agreed with our Mustang because it sure responded. Then it got cloudy and cool this morning and I thought we were in trouble. But we survived and then the sun came back out and I knew we would be OK."

Schumacher beat David Grubnic in the Top Fuel final, posting a win for the fifth time this season and 16th of his career. Schumacher drove his U.S. Army dragster to a 4.643 run at 320.28 to beat Grubnic's 4.690 at 300.20, in his Kalitta Air dragster.

Schumacher came into the weekend with a 28-point lead over Doug Kalitta and a 51-point advantage over Brandon Bernstein. Both Kalitta and Bernstein lost in the first round. Now Schumacher has a 110-point lead over Kalitta.

"We watched Kalitta and Bernstein lose in the first round and my first thought was that it doesn't happen very often," Schumacher said. "It presented quite a challenge for us because we knew what we needed to do to take advantage of the situation.

"(Crew chief Alan) Johnson and 10 other guys on this U.S. Army team got the job done. They were flawless all day. This car was good coming into this race but I firmly believe we're leaving here with an even better handle on it."

Schumacher said the team's goal is to be more consistent regardless of the weather conditions.

"We're always good when it's cool but when it's hot we've struggled," Schumacher said. "It was hot here but the guys made the right adjustments. They say to win championships you have to win all the ones you're supposed to win and half of the ones you're not. This was probably one that people will say we shouldn't have won."

Anderson continued his assault on the Pro Stock category. He grabbed the win over Dave Connolly for his 11th victory of the season and 27th of his career. Anderson drove his Summit Racing Equipment Pontiac Grand Am to a 6.741 run at 205.51 to top Connolly's 6.807 at 203.49 in his Bullet Motorsports Chevy Cavalier.

In 2003 Anderson set the Pro Stock record for wins in a season with 12 national event victories. He is just one shy from tying that record with nine events left on the schedule.

"Everyone's been talking about records and I try not to let myself think about it too much because it's almost unbelievable to me," Anderson said. "But now we're at 11 wins and I guess I need to focus on that stuff because I just can't believe I'll ever get a chance at history like this ever again.

"I need to do it this year."

Anderson set both ends of the track record this weekend. He has set 14 track records this season along with 10 No. 1 qualifying awards. He qualified second to Steve Johns this weekend but still liked the performance of the car.

"I'm very proud of the job the guys did this weekend," Anderson said. "We overcame a big blunder that cost us the No. 1 spot and we got scared a few times today because guys were throwing bullets at us. But when it gets down to reading a track and the conditions, I'll match my guys up against anybody. They are the best."

The next NHRA POWERade series event is the 17th annual FRAM-Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., July 30-Aug. 1.

-nhra-

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Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Tony Schumacher , Doug Kalitta , Greg Anderson , David Grubnic , Cruz Pedregon , Brandon Bernstein , Dave Connolly , Steve J