LAS VEGAS -- Post race notes from the Fifth Annual ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals, Oct. 20-23, The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Tony Schumacher, of Long Grove, Ill. clinched his second consecutive and third overall NHRA POWERade Series world championship by making a qualifying attempt during Friday's first session. He became the fifth Top Fuel driver in NHRA history to win three or more championship titles (also Shirley Muldowney, Don Garlits, Gary Scelzi and Joe Amato). He earned $400,000 for winning the NHRA POWERade title.
Schumacher had a dominating weekend in his U.S. Army dragster. He swept the event, including winning the $100,000 Budweiser Shootout on Saturday and the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals Top Fuel title during Sunday's eliminations. He earned more than $200,000 including contingency, for his efforts during the weekend.
Schumacher became the third Top Fuel driver in NHRA history to win the $50,000 "Double-Up" bonus from NHRA. Joe Amato swept both events in 1990 and Larry Dixon did it in Feb. 2002 for the rain-delayed 2001 Budweiser Shootout.
The victory was Schumacher's eighth of the season and the 29th of his career, placing him alone in fifth on all-time Top Fuel wins list. It was his second victory at The Strip at LVMS.
With the victory, Schumacher tied two longstanding single-season records in Top Fuel. He joined Scott Kalitta (1994) and Cory McClenathan (1997) in a three-way tie for most consecutive wins in a season (4) and Kalitta ('94), McClenathan ('97) and Larry Dixon (2002) for most consecutive final rounds in a season (6).
Morgan Lucas raced to his second No. 1 qualifying position of the season in his Lucas Oil dragster. Lucas clocked a performance of 4.508 seconds at 324.36 mph for the top spot.
Schumacher's U.S. Army crew earned the Full Throttle Pit Crew Championship award. Doug Kalitta's Mac Tools crew maintained the season lead in the Full Throttle Pit Crew Championship award.
Ron Capps, of Carlsbad, Calif., raced to the victory and in the process moved to within two points of the POWERade Series points lead with one race remaining. In the final, Capps drove his Brut Dodge Stratus past teammate Gary Scelzi, who drove his Mopar/Oakley Stratus. It was Capps' third victory of the season in seven final round appearances and the 17th of his career. It was his second victory at The Strip.
With the runner-up finish Scelzi moved back into the POWERade Series points lead, two in front of Capps and 28 in front of 13-time Funny Car champ John Force, who sits in third. Scelzi is trying to join Kenny Bernstein as the only drivers in NHRA history to win championships in both nitro categories.
Scelzi raced to the No. 1 qualifying position with a track record time of 4.746 seconds at 327.90 mph in his Mopar/Oakley Stratus. It was Scelzi's fifth No. 1 of the season and the 41st of his career (8th in FC).
Scelzi led the quickest Funny Car field in NHRA history, anchored by No. 16 qualifier Gary Densham, who posted a 4.834 second performance in a Chevy Monte Carlo to take the spot.
Force, who drives the Castrol GTX Start Up Ford Mustang, lost in the first round for the 10th time this season, a personal high.
Scelzi's Mopar/Oakley Stratus crew earned the Full Throttle Pit Crew Championship award. Force's Castrol GTX Start Up crew maintained the season lead in the Full Throttle Pit Crew Championship award.
Kurt Johnson, from Lawrenceville, Ga., raced to the victory in his ACDelco Chevy Cobalt. He defeated arch-rival Greg Anderson, who drove the Summit Racing Pontiac GTO to the runner-up effort. It was Johnson's fourth victory of the season and the 32nd of his career. It was his first win at The Strip in four final round appearances. Each of those three final round losses at The Strip came against Anderson.
Greg Anderson, of Concord, N.C., claimed his third consecutive NHRA POWERade Series world championship by qualifying No. 1 on Saturday. Anderson posted a 6.818 at 201.97 to take his seventh No. 1 effort of the season and the 40th of his career.
Anderson joined only Bob Glidden and the late Lee Shepherd as drivers who have won at least three consecutive Pro Stock world championship titles.
Among those who failed to qualify included Larry Morgan, Mike Edwards and Dave Howard.
Mark Pawuk defeated V. Gaines by a .0027-second margin of victory in the first round of Pro Stock eliminations to claim the Motel 6 "Who Got the Light" award.
Anderson's Summit Racing Equipment GTO crew earned the Full Throttle Pit Crew Championship award and the team also leads the season standings.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
Chip Ellis, from Americus, Ga., raced to the victory aboard his G-Squared/S&S Buell. He defeated Angelle Sampey for the win. It was his second consecutive victory at The Strip and the third win of his career.
Ryan Schnitz rode his Muzzy.com Buell to the No. 1 qualifying position. It was the first No. 1 effort of his career. He clocked a 7.205 at 183.67 mph to lead the 16-bike category.
Andrew Hines increased his series lead to 47 points over Screamin' Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson teammate GT Tonglet. Both Hines and Tonglet lost in the first round, but Hines increased his lead by virtue of earning more points during qualifying. Hines needs to advance to the semifinals at the Auto Club NHRA Finals at Pomona Raceway to secure his second consecutive POWERade Series world championship.
Ellis' G-Squared/S&S Buell crew earned the Full Throttle Pit Crew Championship award. Hines' Screamin' Eagle Vance & Hines crew maintained the season lead in the Full Throttle Pit Crew Championship award.