LAS VEGAS (Oct. 26, 2012) – Tony Schumacher and the U.S. Army team marched to the top qualifying spot in the first of two sessions Friday in the Big O Tires NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Schumacher’s time of 3.773 seconds at 323.66 mph was the only run on opening day that was below 3.8 seconds. Surprisingly, it was produced by crew chief Mike Green and assistant Neal Strausbaugh in the afternoon session instead of in the night session when most No.1 qualifying positions are earned due to cooler air and racing surfaces than warmer daytime conditions.
“It was most important (to us) because a lot of others didn’t get down the track,” said Schumacher, who has earned three No. 1 qualifying positions this season and 70 in his career.
“We’re going to race in the middle of the day (on Sunday during eliminations) and going down the track when the sun was out in those conditions makes it more comforting. We made a good clean run.”
Schumacher earned three bonus points by being the quickest in Friday’s first session while Don Schumacher Racing teammate and Top Fuel points leader Antron Brown did not place in the top-three in either session to earn bonus points.
That puts Brown 102 points ahead of Spencer Massey, who is qualified No. 3 in the FRAM/Prestone dragster, and 133 ahead of Schumacher with two events remaining in the season including this weekend’s near Las Vegas.
“It’s a super longshot,” Schumacher said of catching Brown. “Antron would have to get beat in the first round and we’d have to win (the title) at these last two races. It’s up to Antron.
“We don’t wish anyone a mistake, but if we are going to have a chance that is required. I really hope he goes out and makes clean runs and becomes the world champ. He’s definitely earned it and has done a great job. But Spencer is right there too.”
Brown’s best effort of 3.869 seconds (313.88) ranks 10th heading to Saturday’s last two qualifying sessions before Sunday’s championship eliminations in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.
In Funny Car, points leader Jack Beckman and the Battery eXtender Powered by Schumacher/Valvoline NextGen Dodge Charger R/T was quickest among the four DSR Funny Car teams. Beckman ranks fourth with a best run of 4.093 (306.88) and Capps’ NAPA Carlyle Tools Dodge is right behind in the fifth position with an elapsed time of 4.098 (308.78).
Neither driver was quick enough to earn bonus points, but Mike Neff of John Force Racing is on the provisional pole and picked up three points to narrow Beckman’s lead to 51 points. Capps still trails Beckman by 23.
Johnny Gray and his Big O Tires/Service Central Dodge ranks 10th while Matt Hagan and the Aaron’s Dream Machine/Mopar team are 15th among the 21 teams vying for one of 16 positions for Sunday’s eliminations.
The following are DSR qualifying results from Friday at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway near Las Vegas:
Provisional No. 1 qualifier: Tony Schumacher (DSR) 3.773 sec., 323.66 mph
Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army dragster
Provisional qualifying position: No. 1
Session 1: 3.773 sec., 323.66 mph
Session 2: 12.426, 79.76
Spencer Massey, Prestone/FRAM dragster
Provisional qualifying position: No. 3
Session 1: 3.807 sec., 323.43 mph
Session 2: 7.222, 76.51
Antron Brown, Matco Tools “Tools for the Cause” dragster
Provisional qualifying position: No. 10
Session 1: 3.869 sec., 313.88 mph
Session 2: 5.582, 117.93
Provisional No. 1 qualifier: Mike Neff (John Force Racing) 4.070 sec., 313.73 mph
Jack Beckman, Battery eXtender by Schumacher Electric/Valvoline Dodge Charger R/T
Provisional qualifying position: No. 4
Session 1: 4.093 sec., 306.88 mph
Session 2: 6.844, 99.26
Ron Capps, NAPA Carlyle Tools Dodge Charger R/T
Provisional qualifying position: No. 5
Session 1: 4.098 sec., 308.78 mph
Session 2: 8.023, 82.90
Johnny Gray, Big O Tires/Service Central Dodge Charger R/T
Provisional qualifying position: No. 10
Session 1: 4.143 sec., 291.95 mph
Session 2: 4.123, 302.41
Matt Hagan, Aaron’s Dream Machine/Mopar Dodge Charger R/T
Provisional qualifying position: No. 15
Session 1: 4.162 sec., 300.66 mph
Session 2: 7.228, 93.10
NHRA FULL THROTTLE EVENT: Las Vegas
Saturday: Qualifying, Noon, 3 p.m.
Sunday: Championship eliminations, 11 a.m.
WEATHER.COM FOR LAS VEGAS
(As of Noon Friday)
Saturday: High 79, 0 percent of rain
Sunday: High 82, 0 percent of rain
Sunday: 4-5 p.m. ET, qualifying
Sunday: 8 -11 p.m. ET, eliminations
NEXT FULL THROTTLE EVENT
Nov. 8-11; and the Auto Club of Southern California NHRA Finals, Pomona, Calif.
About Don Schumacher Racing
Don Schumacher Racing, headquartered in Brownsburg, Ind., consists of seven professional NHRA teams: in Top Fuel, the U.S. Army dragster driven by seven-time world champion Tony Schumacher, the FRAM/Prestone dragster of Spencer Massey and the Matco Tools dragster of Antron Brown; and in Funny Car, 2011 NHRA Funny Car champion Matt Hagan in the Aaron’s Dream Machine/Mopar Dodge Charger R/T, Valvoline NextGen Dodge piloted by Jack Beckman, the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge of Ron Capps and the Service Central Dodge of Johnny Gray. DSR has won 195 NHRA national event titles and nine world championships.
Follow Don Schumacher Racing at ShoeRacing.com, on Twitter at @shoeracing and Facebook.com/shoeracing.
- DSR -
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