Sixth consecutive win, 11th overall set Top Fuel marks
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Five-time champion Tony Schumacher capped off a historic performance at the 54th Mac Tools U.S. Nationals on Monday with his decisive final-round win over longtime foe Doug Kalitta.
Schumacher set NHRA Top Fuel records for wins in a row (6) and wins in a season (11) and he tied Joe Amato for most wins all-time in Top Fuel (52). It was also his seventh Mac Tools U.S. Nationals win and third in a row.
"We want people to remember [the U.S. Army team] as one of the greatest teams ever," said Schumacher. "You get to the finals and you're down to one round, you're one four-second push of the throttle away from setting all those records, one shot to do it, it's very intense. We had to stay focused. We had to stay a machine."
The other winners at the world's most prestigious drag race, the 18th of 18 regular season races in the NHRA POWERade Series, were Robert Hight (Funny Car), Dave Connolly (Pro Stock) and Steve Johnson (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
Meanwhile, the playoff picture was settled this weekend with the last spot coming down to a winner-take-all, heads-up race between Karen Stoffer and Hector Arana and it was Stoffer who prevailed. The other spot in play on Monday went to Pro Stock's Greg Stanfield, who punched his ticket when Warren Johnson lost in the first round to Connolly.
In Funny Car, Hight was the lone bright spot on an otherwise dreary weekend for John Force Racing. John Force DNQ'd, Ashley Force lost in the first round and Mike Neff lost in the quarterfinals. Hight starred by edging past Jack Beckman, 4.312 at 283.85 to 4.438 at 254.04, in the Funny Car final.
In Pro Stock, Connolly not only ended Warren Johnson's playoff bid in the first round, he also ended his son Kurt Johnson's bid to clinch the No. 1 seed and the 20-point bonus in the semis en route to his third win of the season and second straight win at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. He ran a 6.743 at 206.04 in the final to speed past Larry Morgan's 6.797 at 204.70.
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Steve Johnson defeated Andrew Hines, 7.034 at 189.79 to 7.063 at 187.63, to win his fourth career race, but first in three years, dating back to his win here at the 2005 Mac Tools U.S. Nationals.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press