DSR Phoenix Qualifying Report

NHRA Arizona Nationals

Event 2 of 24 (Phoenix)
Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park
Phoenix, Ariz.
Feb. 23-25, 2018

DSR Phoenix Qualifying Highlights:

  • Tony Schumacher earns his 85th No. 1 qualifier at the NHRA Arizona Nationals
  • Schumacher becomes the fastest Top Fuel driver in NHRA history with his 336.57-mph run
  • Schumacher resets both ends of the Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park Top Fuel track records:
    • E.T.: 3.649-seconds 
    • Speed: 336.57 MPH 
  • Six out of seven DSR teams earned bonus point-worthy runs and will start from the top half of the field
Tony Schumacher’s Record Setting Run Earns Top Seed at Phoenix
CHANDLER, Arizona (February 24, 2018) – Tony Schumacher will start race day at the NHRA Arizona Nationals from the No. 1 spot on Sunday morning.
Cool temperatures and prime conditions gave way to another day of quick passes on Saturday at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, but no one could top Schumacher and his U.S. Army Top Fuel team.
Schumacher earned his 85th No. 1 qualifier during Friday’s opening session, leading the 19-car Top Fuel field with his record setting 3.649-second at 336.57-mph run powered by Pennzoil.
“It’s been an excellent weekend for the U.S. Army Racing team,” said the five-time Phoenix winner.
“The U.S. Army car is extremely good and really consistent. Mike [Neff] is comfortable. He’s calm and cool. He knows what the car is doing and he’s enjoying it.”
Schumacher collected an impressive seven bonus points en route to his sixth Phoenix pole, including closing out qualifying with another session-best effort.
“Mike backed it down on that [last] run and it did what it was supposed to do. The conditions for the last round should have produced a better run than we put up last night, but the track is just extremely good and it’s eating the cars up. They are blowing through the clutch. You hit the gas and it just chews that clutch up. Teams were trying, but they weren’t getting it done. We didn’t make the run we wanted, but we made a run quicker than everyone else did. We earned the three points, kept the number one spot and it was a great couple of days of qualifying. Now, we turn our focus to winning the race. I think tomorrow is going to be a great day. I think the fans are going to be the biggest winners. I think they are going to see an awesome race. NHRA and Mello Yello are doing a great job. This is the greatest show on earth and I’m excited to out here surrounded by an incredible U.S. Army team, ready to go get that trophy.”
Qualified: No. 1 (E1 lane choice)
The Competition: No. 16 Greg Carrillo
The Results: 
Q1: 3.649 E.T. at 334.65 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Q2: 3.667 E.T. at 336.57 MPH (One bonus point for third quickest run of the session)
Q3: 7.654 E.T. at 83.82 MPH
Q4: 3.686 E.T. at 332.34 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Bonus Points: Seven
DSR Driver Information:

Top Fuel:

Driver of the Matco Tools/U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 8 (E1 lane choice)
The Competition: No. 9 Mike Salinas
The Results:
Q1: 3.717 E.T. at 333.66 MPH
Q2: 7.773 E.T. at 88.53 MPH
Q3: 3.712 E.T. at 328.70 MPH (Two bonus points for second quickest run of the session)
Q4: 3.785 E.T. at 313.88 MPH
Bonus Points: Two
"It was good to come out and go faster than we ever have speed wise Friday night. Unfortunately, the run was just off a bit from what we wanted. We’ve been trying all weekend go somewhere between 3.69 and 3.70 in the U.S. Army/Matco Tools Dragster, but the track has been better than what we expected. When a track is this good, you you’ve got to give it all. It’s tougher than a slicker track, because this track here will break you down because it will get so tight. When it’s tight, it’s very edgy on the starting line. And the trick is to get off the starting line and once you make it 60 feet, it’s game on. I know (co-crew chiefs) Brad (Mason) and Mark (Oswald) are doing everything they can. Tomorrow it’s about being consistent. Going down the race track every time. With these conditions, everyone is going to push it and run hard, so we’re just going to try to be efficient and effective and see where it all shakes out."
Driver of the Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 4 (E1 lane choice)
The Competition: No. 13 Troy Buff
The Results: 
Q1: 3.755 E.T. at 291.07 MPH
Q2: 4.098 E.T. at 225.03 MPH
Q3: 3.679 E.T. at 334.15 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Q4: 6.066 E.T. at 106.24 MPH
Bonus Points: Three
"The team put in some of the longest hours Friday night trying to figure out what was going on with the car. They worked deep into the night. We had some new issues to deal with in Friday’s qualifying runs and the hard work to fix them paid off in Q3. We weren’t necessarily looking to put the strongest number on the board, it was more about just making sure everything was working right. As it turned out, we accomplished both. It’s a testament to this team’s ability to overcome adversity. This weekend didn’t start off the way we hoped it would, but everyone dug in and through great teamwork and leadership we are feeling good. We finally feel like we have our hot rod back."
"Getting down the track today was the important thing and it ended up being one of the most impressive runs when you consider the track conditions were the hottest we’ve had all weekend. The good news is that its great preparation for what we expect on Sunday and provided us a baseline to start with tomorrow. There’s just a great feeling coming to Phoenix between the fans and finally getting back into our rhythm. We wanted to come back here and get a handle on our racecar first and foremost. Now, we can attack tomorrow trying to get it back into the winner’s circle."
Funny Car:
Driver of the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 3 (E1 lane choice)
The Competition: No. 14 Richard Townsend
The Results: 
Q1: 3.895 E.T. at 328.86 MPH (One bonus point for third quickest run of the session)
Q2: 3.845 E.T. at 332.43 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Q3: 4.131 E.T. at 238.05 MPH
Q4: 3.855 E.T. at 331.77 MPH (One bonus point for third quickest run of the session)
Bonus Points: Five
"I’m totally thrilled with our performance. We have such a good tune-up and it doesn’t matter if the track is hot or cool. For us to get down the track three out of four times is fantastic. We pushed it on the run that we smoked them, and I’m fine with that because sometimes you have to find what’s over the edge to know how far you can push.
"We’re racing Richard Townsend tomorrow. It’s his first NHRA start and I’m excited for him. I remember mine from 12 years ago.
"When they lower the hood on the car, it’s all about win lights and I’m looking to get four tomorrow."
Driver of the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 2 (E1 lane choice)
The Competition: No. 15 Tim Wilkerson
The Results: 
Q1: 4.474 E.T. at 188.81 MPH
Q2: 8.163 E.T. at 80.56 MPH
Q3: 3.884 E.T. at 327.90 MPH (Two bonus points for second quickest run of the session)
Q4: 3.844 E.T. at 330.80 MPH (Two bonus points for third quickest run of the session)
Bonus Points: Four
"To listen to the crew chiefs approach for the next run, and to race with Rahn Tobler is a lot of fun. We’ve got the six disc clutch this year and it’s been fun to watch his [Tobler’s] process. He knew what he wanted to do after we left Pomona, and he’s done it here. Today went exactly like he thought it would. It’s really cool to watch your crew chief make these small, intricate decisions that turn into big runs like that. A smile on Rahn Tobler makes me smile. Our NAPA AutoCare guys keep giving me a great car, so the confidence grows. We jokingly would rather be in the No. 2 spot than the No. 1. We’ve won lots of races from the pole but we would much rather have one of those yellow hats than the green Mello Yello hats." 
Driver of the Sandvik Coromant  Dodge Charger R/T 
Qualified: No. 9
The Competition: No. 8 J.R. Todd
The Results: 
Q1: 3.926 E.T. at 330.88 MPH
Q2: 7.756 E.T. at 86.95 MPH
Q3: 9.394 E.T. at 37.41 MPH
Q4: 4.288 E.T. at 208.30 MPH
"Still super confident. We’ve got what it takes to make it happen. Qualifying is qualifying. Obviously, we would’ve loved to throw down some big numbers, but I’ve won from (number) one and I’ve won from the sixteenth (qualifying spot) before. You’ve just got to be in it to win it. That’s the mentality and mindset that I have, and I feel like our whole team has that right now. I’m not concerned at all. We have a good baseline to work off of from Q1 on Friday. We’ll make some changes and go from there." 
Driver of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger R/T 
Qualified: No. 6 (E1 lane choice)
The Competition: No. 11 Robert Hight
The Results: 
Q1: 3.879 E.T. at 328.62 MPH (Two bonus points for second quickest run of the session)
Q2: 8.907 E.T. at 79.57 MPH
Q3: 3.929 E.T. at 296.96 MPH
Q4: 3.921 E.T. at 329.91 MPH
Bonus Points: Two
"I think the car is making good progress. We ran well on Friday. We’ve been having trouble with the cool conditions, but we learned something Friday night. Big explosion Q3, the car was going to run a high 80 again. It’s getting better, the progress looks good. It seems like when you have your toughest qualifying weekends, Sunday goes well. Going into tomorrow, we’re confident that things will get better and we’ll go some rounds." 

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