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Thu, 11 Sep 2003, 08:41 AM

49th annaul Mac Tools U.S. Nationals Post Race Notes
Courtesy of NHRA Communications


* Tony Schumacher, from Long Grove, Ill., earned his ninth career victory and third win at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. It was his second victory of the season and second straight at the world's most prestigious drag race. Schumacher raced to the victory in his U.S. Army dragster with a track record time of 4.498 seconds at 328.54 mph, to defeat final round opponent Darrell Russell, who clocked a 4.613 at 290.19 in his Bilstein Engine Flush dragster. Schumacher joins Joe Amato, Gary Beck and Don Prudhomme as the only drivers to win the U.S. Nationals three times in Top Fuel. Don Garlits, an eight time winner, has the most Top Fuel victories at the U.S. Nationals.

* Rookie David Baca earned his first career No. 1 qualifying position with a career-best 4.499 second run at 326.32 mph.

* Doug Kalitta posted a track record speed of 328.86 mph in his Mac Tools dragster.

* Chris Vandergriff was not injured during a qualifying run when his dragster went out of control, climbed into a wheelstand and experienced the first blow-over in U.S. Nationals history.

* Two-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Scott Kalitta made his return to competition for the first time since the 2000 season driving his Mac Tools/Jesse James dragster. He qualified second, posted a career-best performance of 4.502 seconds at 327.82 mph, and advanced to the semifinals where he lost to eventual winner Schumacher in a close, side-by-side race.

* Despite a second round loss, Larry Dixon maintained his POWERade points lead over Kalitta, also a second round loser. Dixon leads Kalitta by 269. With the victory, Schumacher moved into fourth place, 44 behind third place Russell.

* Shirley Muldowney, the 1982 Top Fuel winner at Indy, competed for the final time at the historic race. She failed to qualify in her signature pink dragster, clocking a 4.767 at 298.85 for 22nd in the 16-car order. She plans to retire from driving at the end of the season. Other notable DNQs: Don Garlits and Doug Herbert.


* Tim Wilkerson, from Springfield, Ill., won the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals for the first time. It was his first victory of the season and second win of his career. It was his second final round appearance at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals (also 1997). He powered his Levi, Ray & Shoup Pontiac Firebird to a winning run of 4.841 at 321.19 to defeat Johnny Gray, who posted a 4.903 at 314.24 in his Checker Schuck's Kragen Firebird.

* John Force raced his Castrol GTX High-Mileage Ford Mustang to his fourth No. 1 qualifying position of the 2003 season and 116th of his career. Force clocked a performance of 4.759 seconds at 317.94 mph to top the 16-car order.

* Tony Pedregon earned his first victory in the lucrative Budweiser Shootout, an all-star bonus event for Funny Car drivers, claiming the $100,000 winner's share. Pedregon defeated five-time Shootout winner John Force in the all-Castrol Ford Mustang final round.

* Pedregon continued to lead the POWERade point standings in Funny Car despite a first round loss. It was Pedregon's fourth first round loss in the last five races. He leads Whit Bazemore by 57 points, while Force is third, 209 behind.


* POWERade points leader Greg Anderson scored his eighth victory of the season and second of his career at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. It was Anderson's 12th career victory. He drove his Vegas General Construction Pontiac Grand Am to a winning run of 6.803 at 203.40 to defeat rival Kurt Johnson, who fouled at the start in his ACDelco Chevy Cavalier.

* Johnson was quickest in qualifying, recording a track record time of 6.778 seconds at 203.77 mph for his second top qualifying performance of the season, and 23rd No. 1 of his career.

* Anderson posted a track record speed of 205.01 mph.

* Anderson earned $1,000 from Motel 6 for winning the Motel 6 'Who Got the Light' Award. He defeated Jeg Coughlin in the Pro Stock semifinal round with a margin of victory of 0.0019 of a second.

* With the victory, Anderson extended his POWERade Series lead to 176 points over Johnson.


* Reggie Showers earned his first career victory by using a holeshot start to defeat Shawn Gann in the Pro Stock Bike final. In the process, Showers claimed a $10,000 NHRA 'Double-Up' bonus to add to his $15,000 winner's share from the K&N Filters Pro Bike Klash, an all-star bonus event for bike competitors contested during the event. Showers claimed more than $35,000 for the weekend, the richest prize offered to Pro Stock Bike competitors. Showers, a double-amputee below the knees following a childhood accident, uses prosthetic legs to race.

* Angelle Savoie earned her second No. 1 qualifying position of the season and the 33rd of her career, riding her U.S. Army Suzuki to a leading time of 7.154 at 189.12.

* Andrew Hines set a track speed record at 190.65 mph on his Vance & Hines Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson.

* With the runner-up finish, Gann cut Geno Scali's POWERade Series points lead to 152. With the victory, Showers moved to fifth overall, 219 out of first, and 67 points out of second place.


* After only two rounds of qualifying were completed during the event's primary weekend (Aug. 27-Sept. 1), persistent rain showers forced NHRA officials to delay completion of the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals until the following weekend, Sept. 5-7.

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