Driver of the Okuma/Sandvik Coromant
Toyota Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 1 (3.680 E.T. at 332.92 MPH)
E1: 3.754 E.T. at 316.67 MPH defeated Kebin Kinsley 7.943 E.T. at 82.24 MPH
E2: 3.750 E.T. at 291.13 MPH defeated Leah Pruett - No time, broke
E3: No time, broke on the burnout; defeated by Doug Kalitta
Tony Schumacher rocketed the Okuma/Sandvik Coromant/Toyota dragster to a 3.680 second at 332.92 mph pass during Saturday’s lone qualifying session to reset the St. Louis Top Fuel speed record and earn the 88th No. 1 qualifier of his career. Starting from the pole position for the first time since the 2018 Richmond, Va. event, Schumacher was in prime position for a long day of going rounds as he sought to claim his first win since returning to the seat of a Top Fuel dragster back in July.
Schumacher, a two-time St. Louis champ, registered a winning 3.754 E.T. to dispatch his round-one opponent and earn a bid into round two to battle it out with Leah Pruett for a spot in the semifinals. Against Pruett, Schumacher took the early lead and never trailed for the win while his stablemate suffered a malfunction in the opposite lane which caused her machine to snap in the middle and become airborne before settling to a safe stop.
“It was unfortunate that we couldn’t take a shot at Doug Kalitta who is running for a championship as we have Leah (Pruett) out here as a team car that’s fighting for that championship too. We made a great showing this weekend for Sandvik and Okuma and all of the DSM partners. We had an awesome car getting the pole with that 3.68. In the semis, the throttle stuck on the burnout, and at that point, I pulled back two or three times, and as it’s motoring down the track and building speed, I just had to shut it off. That’s the responsible thing to do. The little gremlins are biting us. We don’t have a complete package just yet. Our guys are doing their best, but haven’t worked together very long. We’re doing the best we can with what we have. We’re thankful that Leah is safe, but you put it in perspective that, yeah, we got beat in the semis, but our team driver was protected because of all the great safety precautions we take at DSR with the chassis and canopy. We’ll go to Dallas, Texas, my home state, Toyota’s home state, in two weeks and get back after chasing a win.”