JOLIET, Ill. -- Post race notes from Fifth Annual Ameriquest Mortgage NHRA Nationals, Sept. 29 - Oct. 2.
POWERade Series points leader Tony Schumacher capped off a weekend sweep with a 4.535-second pass at 328.94 mph in his U.S. Army dragster to win his second straight event and sixth in nine final-round appearances in 2005. The win was the 27th of Schumacher's career.
The final round matchup against Doug Herbert (9.877 at 82.52) and the Snap-on Tools dragster was a rematch of the finals from 2004, won by Herbert.
The win was the second at Route 66 Raceway for Schumacher, who lives about an hour north of the track in Long Grove, Ill.
In perfect conditions Friday night, Schumacher turned in a blistering 4.437-second pass to set a provisional national record that became official when he backed it up with a 4.473-second pass in the first round of qualifying Saturday. The record earned him a 20-point bonus.
Schumacher earned the maximum 138 points by being the No. 1 qualifier, setting a national elapsed time record and winning the event.
Schumacher's 10th No. 1 qualifier of 2005 tied the single-season record held by Gary Beck (1985) and Blaine Johnson (1996). It was also his sixth consecutive No. 1 qualifer, which breaks the single-season NHRA record of five consecutive No. 1 qualifers held previously by Doug Kalitta (twice), Beck and Darrell Gwynn.
The two-time and defending POWERade Series champion, Schumacher, inched closer to a second straight world championship by more than doubling his lead over Larry Dixon, from 100 to begin the weekend to 205 by Sunday night. Schumacher needs a 277-point lead after this week's race in Dallas to clinch his third POWERade Series world championship.
Schumacher's closest competitors in the POWERade Series world championship race, Doug Kalitta and Larry Dixon, both lost in the first round.
Schumacher's U.S. Army crew earned the Full Throttle Pit Crew Championship award.
Ron Capps sped to a 4.760-second pass at 327.82 mph in his Brut Dodge Stratus R/T to take the win-light over a tire-smoking Tony Pedregon (7.369 at 138.50), who was making his second straight final-round appearance in his Q Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo.
Capps' second win of 2005 in six final-round appearances vaulted him from fifth to third in the POWERade Series standings and within 45 points of first-place Gary Scelzi.
Capps' victory was the 16th of his career and first at Route 66 Raceway.
Cruz Pedregon earned his second No. 1 qualifier of 2005 (Englishtown, Chicago 2) and the 32nd of his career.
Capps defeated a Murderer's Row en route to the win: Robert Hight (who began the day second behind Scelzi), Cruz Pedregon (whose 4.680-second pass in qualifying tied for second-best e.t. in NHRA Funny Car history), John Force (14-time world champion, began day third behind Scelzi) and Tony Pedregon (coming off of a win at Toyo Tires Nationals, matched brother with a 4.680 in qualifying).
Force was penalized 10 points for an oildown in the first round Sunday and slipped from 31 to 43 points back of Scelzi in the POWERade Series standings. He is now in second place.
Scelzi was ousted in the semifinals by Tony Pedregon for the second straight event, but for the second straight week the driver of the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Stratus also extended his lead in the points standings (from 26 points over Hight to 43 over Force).
Scelzi is the fourth driver in NHRA history to lead the series points in both nitro categories. Others to reach that mark include Kenny Bernstein, Don "the Snake" Prudhomme and Ed McCulloch.
Scelzi is looking to become just the second driver to win a world championship title in both nitro categories; the other is Kenny Bernstein.
Force's Castrol GTX Start Up Ford Mustang crew earned the Full Throttle Pit Crew Championship award.
Jason Line pushed his Summit Racing Pontiac GTO to a second straight and third overall Route 66 Raceway win with a 6.719-second pass at 205.88 mph to upend 21-year old Erica Enders, who fouled out at the start.
Enders, who drives the Slammers Ultimate Milk Chevy Cobalt, became the first female to advance past the first round in Pro Stock and therefore the first woman to advance to a final round in Pro Stock.
Line set a track record for speed in qualifying with his Friday night pass at 208.17 mph.
Line's Summit Racing teammate Greg Anderson earned his fifth No. 1 qualifier of 2005 and the 38th of his career. He was beaten in the quarterfinals by Warren Johnson.
Anderson's qualifying time of 6.646 seconds is a Route 66 Raceway track record and it was the second best e.t. in NHRA history, behind only his 6.633-second pass earlier this season in Gainesville.
Route 66 Raceway remains the lone track on the current NHRA schedule at which Anderson has failed to find the winner's circle.
Anderson added six points to his lead over second-place Kurt Johnson, extending it from 176 points to 182.
The victory was Line's fourth of the season and the eighth of his career.
Greg Anderson's Summit Racing Pontiac GTO crew earned the Full Throttle Pit Crew Championship award.
Line earned the Motel 6 "Who Got the Light" award by defeating Kurt Johnson by a .0033-second margin of victory in the quarterfinals of eliminations.
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