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Sat, 3 Sep 2005, 01:27 AM

Schumacher Races To Quickest And Fastest Run
Courtesy of NHRA Communications
Photo copyright 2005 Auto Imagery, Inc.

In MAC Tools U.S. Nationals History


Tony Schumacher
Tony Schumacher raced to the quickest and fastest performance in the 51 year history of the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals Friday, highlighting a record-setting day of qualifying at Indianapolis Raceway Park.

Robert Hight, Greg Anderson and Andrew Hines also were qualifying leaders at the the world's most prestigious drag race, the 18th of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Schumacher, winner of the last three U.S. Nationals Top Fuel titles and four overall, powered his U.S. Army dragster to a track record run of 4.459 seconds at 329.18 mph to claim the provisional No. 1 position in his category.

"That was a great run and no matter what it puts us solidly in the top half of the field," Schumacher said. "Now we have some room to get ready for the race on Monday. Alan (Johnson, crew chief) is amazing and he just continues to show that he really knows how to read a race track. Before the run he said we were going to run a mid-4.40 and we did. We tested here last week and ran really good. The track was much better tonight than it was in testing and it showed with our quicker number."

Series points leader Doug Kalitta was second in his Mac Tools dragster, posting a 4.517 at 327.59, while Memphis winner "Hot" Rod Fuller was third in his David Powers Homes/Valvoline dragster, with a 4.520 at 325.61.

Robert Hight
Rookie driver Hight posted a track record time of 4.747 at 321.65 in his Auto Club Ford Mustang to lead Funny Car.

"To be honest I'm just really glad we're qualified," said Hight, the current series points leader in the 7,000 horsepower category. "I didn't think I'd get caught up in the Indy hoopla but once you get here and the race starts it's impossible not to. Every fan you talk to asks about the points lead or being Rookie of the Year, or winning the race this weekend. You can't avoid how big this event is to everyone."

Tommy Johnson Jr. was second in the Skoal Chevy Monte Carlo with a 4.748 at 325.77 and Hight team owner John Force was third in his Castrol GTX Start Up Ford Mustang with a 4.767 at 313.22.

Greg Anderson
Two-time defending world champion Anderson clocked a track record time of 6.714 at 205.13 in his Summit Racing Pontiac GTO to lead Pro Stock.

"It's magic coming here," said Anderson, a three-time U.S. Nationals winner. "It's so good to be No. 1 right out of the box, but we can't be over-confident. There's a lot of work left to be done. We missed the tune-up a little and definitely left something on the track so to still have the (No. 1 position) after a run like that is a good thing. We have room to improve."

Kurt Johnson was second in his ACDelco Chevy Cobalt with a 6.728 at 205.35, while V. Gaines claimed the third spot with a 6.737 at 203.92 in his Kendall Oil Dodge Stratus R/T.

Andrew Hines
Hines was the provisional qualifying leader in Pro Stock Motorcycle, covering the quarter-mile distance in a track record time of 7.085 at 189.04 on his Screamin' Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson.

"I think everyone pretty much knew what we were capable of running because we tested here last week," Hines said. "We ran a 7.10 and a 7.12 then so all we did was work on the 60-foot time and use basically that same tune-up. I like the number we ran tonight. This is usually the best session of qualifying so it could hold. I really like the right lane and I think that's where I'd like to stay tomorrow during the Pro Bike Battle. If we can be consistent and I do my job, we should turn on some win lights."

Matt Smith took the No. 2 position on a Suzuki with a 7.154 at 181.89 and Antron Brown was third on his U.S. Army Suzuki with a 7.177 at 185.72. Two-time U.S. Nationals winner Angelle Sampey was second overall before her run was disqualified by NHRA Tech for failing a post-run fuel inspection.

Qualifying continues Saturday and Sunday for Monday's 11 a.m. eliminations. The Ringers Gloves Pro Bike Battle will be contested Saturday for the eight quickest Pro Stock Motorcycle competitors and the eight quickest Funny Car drivers will race for the $100,000 winner's share in the Skoal Showdown on Sunday.

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