2014 NHRA: Tony Schumacher NHRA Nationals At Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park Event Recap: Second Round
Seven-time NHRA Top Fuel world champion Tony Schumacher and his Don Schumacher Racing U.S. Army team remains in unfamiliar territory but after Sunday they are confident that they're getting it where it belongs.
After a subpar No. 10 qualifying effort and first-round loss two weeks ago in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series opener at Pomona, Calif., the U.S. Army fought back to being an event title contender Sunday at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park near Phoenix.
Tony with crew chief Mike Green and assistant Neal Strausbaugh produced their best qualifying run in the fourth and last session with a 3.757-second, 325.14-mph run that was Saturday's quickest and moved them to the No. 2 spot.
The new combination carried over to Sunday's first round and nearly matched their top qualifying run with a 3.779 at 326.56, which was the round's fastest.
"It was a great run," Tony said. "I thought this was going to be my day. I had a car as good as anybody's.
But in the quarterfinals, Tony lost traction and lost to Brittany Force, who advanced to her first championship round where she lost to Tony's DSR teammate Antron Brown.
"It caught me off guard," Tony said of his tire-spinning loss. "It surprised me. I thought we'd go right down the track and run a high 3.70.
"With the changes we've made, our U.S. Army dragster was phenomenal on the last qualifying run and in the first round. It made solid plants off the line and good runs. We made drastic changes, and I'm very happy to go to the rest of the races with a U.S. Army dragster like this.
"Coming to Phoenix we weren't comfortable with what he had. I like it now. We'll stay tomorrow and test to get ready for Gainesville in three weeks.
"Like I said before the race, we'll win or we'll lose and we'll test Monday regardless. Winning is what we do, and we aren't used to the position we were in. But we'll figure it out."
Event winner: Antron Brown (Don Schumacher Racing) No. 1 Qualifier: Doug Kalitta (Kalitta Motorsports), 3.735 sec., 327.74 mph
TONY SCHUMACHER, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
Qualified: No. 2
First round: SCHUMACHER (3.779 sec., 326.56 mph) def. Terry McMillen; Quarterfinals: Brittany Force (3.805, 322.58) def. SCHUMACHER (5.017, 179.06).
FRIDAY: 4.091 sec., 216.86 mph, (Session 1); 7.129, 87.84, (Session 2); SATURDAY: 3.839, 321.27, (Session 3); 3.757, 325.14, (Session 4).
NHRA MELLO YELLO STANDINGS
(Through Phoenix, second of 24 events; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. Doug Kalitta, 191
2. Khalid alBalooshi, 165
3. ANTRON BROWN, 156
4. Steve Torrence, 155
5. SPENCER MASSEY, 127
5t. Brittany Force, 127
7. Shawn Langdon, 124
8. TONY SCHUMACHER, 92
9. Richie Crampton, 84
9t. David Grubnic, 84