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2014 NHRA: Schumacher Earns 73rd Pole, First At Bandimere Speedway
Posted by: newsla on Jul 20, 2014 - 05:50 AM
2014 NHRA: Schumacher Earns 73rd Pole, First At Bandimere Speedway; Capps Leads DSR Funny Cars In MOPAR Mile-High Nationals

Tony Schumacher earned his first No. 1 qualifying position at Bandimere Speedway since he began racing at the track near Denver 17 years ago.


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Schumacher's track-record time of 3.823 seconds at 314.09 mph in Friday night's second session in the thin, night air of the mile-high track held up through two more sessions Saturday heading to the MOPAR Mile-High NHRA Nationals eliminations on Sunday.

Schumacher, the seven-time NHRA Top Fuel world champion, with crew chief Mike Green and assistant Neal Strausbaugh produced their driver's record 73rd pole.

Schumacher won titles at Bandimere in 2005 and 2008 and has been the event runner-up five times, but has never earned the No. 1 qualifying position although he holds the record for most Top Fuel poles in NHRA history.

But the seven-time Top Fuel world champion and winner of 74 event titles in 127 championship rounds knows little will translate from his pole-winning Friday night run to Sunday in single-elimination competition during the heat of the afternoon.

"You've got to go out and you've got to adapt. The track conditions are not cool. They're not going to be wonderful. They're hot, slippery.

"We're going to have to look back at a lot of data that we've used this year and then factor in these very tough conditions - high altitude and heat. We're going to have to make some big changes. But, we went down the track four times and a lot of other people are struggling.

"I think the key is to take the horsepower that we have because this is a hard place to make horsepower, and just slide it on down through there. We're going to get to see some good racing tomorrow. A lot of good cars qualified in the bottom half, which is going to make it difficult to win a race."

The key first-round match in Top Fuel will be Schumacher's teammate Antron Brown, who qualified sixth, facing Doug Kalitta, who holds a 45-point lead over Brown for the top spot in the standings. Each round win Sunday is worth 20 points.

In Funny Car, Ron Capps and the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T team led by Rahn Tobler led the four DSR Funny Cars by qualifying No. 5.

Capps is ranked third in the series standings after being the runner-up at the last Mello Yello event two weeks ago at Norwalk in northern Ohio and winning his only title of the year on June 22 at Epping, N.H.

DSR Funny Cars have won three of the past four event titles. Unfortunately, Tommy Johnson Jr., who qualified sixth in DSR's Make-A-Wish Dodge will face teammate Jack Beckman's Infinite Hero/Valvoline team in the first round.

The MOPAR Mile-High NHRA Nationals is the first stop of the annual Western Swing with three races in three weeks. After Denver, the Swing shifts to Sonoma, Calif., and closes with a stop near Seattle.

No. 1 Qualifier: Tony Schumacher (Don Schumacher Racing), 3.823 sec.*, 314.09 mph (* track record)

TONY SCHUMACHER, U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster
Qualifying Position: No. 1
First round: SCHUMACHER vs. Jenna Haddock
FRIDAY: 3.888 sec., 319.75 mph, (Session 1); 3.823, 314.09, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 3.965, 300.73, (Session 3); 3.867, 309.98, (Session 4)

ANTRON BROWN, Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster
Qualifying Position: No. 6
First round: BROWN vs. Doug Kalitta
FRIDAY: 3.961 sec., 303.03 mph, (Session 1); 3.881, 310.63,, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 3.962, 306.53, (Session 3); 3.868, 307.51, (Session 4)

SPENCER MASSEY, Battery Extender Powered by Schumacher Top Fuel Dragster
Qualifying Position: No. 13
First round: MASSEY vs. Bob Vandergriff
FRIDAY: 4.181 sec., 217.46 mph, (Session 1); 8.106, 80.58, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 3.989, 306.53, (Session 3); 7.842, 81.76, (Session 4)

No. 1 Qualifier: John Force (John Force Racing) 4.049 sec.*, 318.39 mph* (track records)

Qualifying Position: No. 5
First round: CAPPS vs. Bob Tasca III
FRIDAY: 4.141 sec., 306.67 mph, (Session 1); 4.087, 311.92, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 4.261, 254.81, (Session 3); 4.563, 191.97, (Session 4)

TOMMY JOHNSON JR., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T
Qualifying Position: No. 6
First round: JOHNSON vs. Jack Beckman
FRIDAY: 4.180 sec., 305.42 mph, (Session 1); 4.102, 308.21, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 4.188, 298.21, (Session 3); 4.808, 172.01, (Session 4)

MATT HAGAN, 426 Race HEMI 50th Anniversary Tribute Mopar Dodge Charger R/T
Qualifying Position: No. 8
First round: HAGAN vs. Alexis DeJoria
FRIDAY: 8.243 sec., 84.39 mph, (Session 1); 4.111, 300.73, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: , (Session 3); , (Session 4)

JACK BECKMAN, Infinite Hero Fund/Valvoline Dodge Charger R/T
Qualifying Position: No. 11
First round: BECKMAN vs. Tommy Johnson Jr.
FRIDAY: 4.224 sec., 298. 47 mph, (Session 1); 4.153, 304.32, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 4.227, 229.26, (Session 3); 4.719, 179.23, (Session 4)

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