Tony Schumacher solidly in field after first day

Baytown, TX (October 29): Friday: Tony Schumacher and Team Exide came to the Matco Tools SuperNationals presented by Racing Champions on the heels of their first victory last week in Dallas. Schumacher is also the current NHRA Winston points ...

Baytown, TX (October 29): Friday: Tony Schumacher and Team Exide came to the Matco Tools SuperNationals presented by Racing Champions on the heels of their first victory last week in Dallas. Schumacher is also the current NHRA Winston points leader and is in the hunt for the champion trophy in the first year of competition for this young team. The combination of those two things makes their qualifying efforts even more important as they try to expand their 81-point lead over Joe Amato.

Houston Raceway Park is known for low e.t.'s and until last week was the site of the national speed record set by Gary Scelzi. The Dan Olson tuned Exide dragster lined up as the last to qualify for the first session, a position earned as being Winston Championship points leader. Many cars had difficulties negotiating the Houston Raceway Park track, but Schumacher and company were able to put up a 4.658 e.t. at 316.90 mph which put them in the No. 3 spot.

"That's a good baseline for us," said points leader Schumacher, "now Dan (Olson) can step on it a little."

The evening session promised to give fans quite a show as cooler temperatures and good air usually allows the 6000 horsepower dragsters to run their quickest. Schumacher and crew wanted to show that they are the world's fastest and looked to fire a shot at fellow competitors.

The Exide dragster hustled down the track with a 4.637 e.t. at 321.96 mph. Though able to improve slightly on e.t, their time was only good enough to keep them in the No. 7 position as the day's activities ended.

"We were just too soft," said crew chief Dan Olson, "we stepped on it, but not hard enough."

"We will be OK," said Schumacher, "we have two for passes tomorrow and this Exide team is not done yet."

"We made two clean passes down the track without hurting anything. That's better than some."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Schumacher , Joe Amato , Gary Scelzi