Tucson pre-season test report 2003-01-25

Schumacher, Gray and Pawuk quickest in testing Saturday in Tucson. TUCSON, Ariz. -- Tony Schumacher, Johnny Gray and Mark Pawuk were quickest among NHRA professional competitors participating in testing Saturday at the PRO Warmup at Southwestern...

Schumacher, Gray and Pawuk quickest in testing Saturday in Tucson.

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Tony Schumacher, Johnny Gray and Mark Pawuk were quickest among NHRA professional competitors participating in testing Saturday at the PRO Warmup at Southwestern International Raceway.

NHRA teams are utilizing the three-day test in preparation for the 2003 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season, which begins Feb. 6-9 with the K&N Filters Winternationals in Pomona, Calif. The $2 million race, which will be televised on ESPN2, is the first of 23 events in the $50 million nationwide circuit.

Schumacher, the 1999 NHRA Top Fuel champion, recorded the quickest effort of the weekend in his U.S. Army dragster, a 4.610-second run at 305.22 mph. He also posted a shut-off effort of 4.751 at 259.06 in his final run of the day.

Doug Herbert was the most consistent driver of the day, powering his Snap-on Tools dragster to three consistent runs in the 4.60s, his best a 4.648 at 310.48.

Brandon Bernstein aborted two runs in his Budweiser/Lucas Oil dragster before navigating the quarter-mile with a 4.730 at 313.95. Rhonda Hartman-Smith, Clay Millican and John Smith also made runs, but were forced to shutoff early.

The new crew chief duo of Marc Denner and Chris Cunningham combined their talents to tune Gray's Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird to the quickest Funny Car run of the weekend, a 4.879 at 315.27.

"It's really a great feeling to watch these guys work and then to strap into the car knowing it's got a pretty good chance of doing something good," said Gray. "Marc and Chris have these guys working great together, and the two of them are working with Del (Worsham, teammate) and Chuck (Worsham, team owner) to make this whole team a much better program. On that run the car was pulling the whole way, and once we got past the transition point on the track I knew we had a good one going. To put up low E.T. is a sign we're moving in the right direction."

Gary Densham was second-quickest of the day and led the Force Racing camp with a 4.920 at 298.60 in his Auto Club Ford Mustang, while John Force powered his Castrol GTX Mustang to a 4.923 at 312.22. Tony Pedregon clocked a 5.071 at 231.20 in his Castrol Syntec Mustang.

Three other Funny Car competitors also posted runs. Del Worsham drove his Checker Schuck's Kragen Firebird to a 4.936 at 306.33, while Dean Skuza clicked his Cornwell Tools machine off early and posted a 5.160 at 230.20. Cruz Pedregon made two attempts in his Advance Auto Parts Firebird, both shut-off runs.

Pawuk had the quickest Pro Stock car, as new crew chief Bob Glidden, a 10-time NHRA Pro Stock champion, tuned the Summit Pontiac Grand Am to two 7.0-second runs, the best a 7.078 at 194.27.

George Marnell drove his Matco Tools Grand Am to a 7.106 at 194.49 for his best run of the weekend.

-nhra-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Clay Millican , Mark Pawuk , Dean Skuza , Del Worsham , John Force , Rhonda Hartman-Smith , Tony Schumacher , Gary Densham , Cruz Pedregon , Brandon Bernstein , George Marnell , Johnny Gray