Schumacher, Hagan, McGaha and Hines clinch US Nationals
Tony Schumacher sprinted to victory on Labor Day at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, as Matt Hagan, Chris McGaha, and Andrew Hines also grabbed category wins.
Schumacher claimed his 82nd career win when he powered his U.S. Army dragster to a 3.806-second pass at 317.64 mph to beat Steve Torrence’s 3.803 at 325.06 in his Capco Contractors / Torrence Racing dragster during the final round on Monday. The most successful driver in NHRA Top Fuel history also became the most successful driver in Lucas Oil Raceway history with his 10th career victory there. Schumacher outran Tripp Tatum, DSR teammate and reigning champ Antron Brown and Sonoma event winner J.R. Todd in the earlier rounds before facing Torrence.
“I didn’t see [Torrence] for one second but I heard him,” said Schumacher. “It was a great final round; the fans got a close race. It’s been such a great career and it’s been so much fun. I’ve had great teams, one after another, and it’s a blessing to be a part of this and have a chance. I love my job and I love drag racing cars.”
Schumacher, who also won the Top Fuel portion of the lucrative NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootout this weekend, will enter the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship six-race playoff as the No. 4 seed.
Torrence, competing in his sixth final round of the season, is now a three-time runner-up at Indianapolis and has two wins so far this season, which help send him into the Countdown in P3.
Leah Pritchett, driver of the Papa John’s dragster, clinched the 10th and final spot in the Countdown to the Championship after Terry McMillen red-lighted in the first round in his Amalie Motor Oil dragster. Pritchett, who also lost in the first round, had a one-point lead over McMillen entering eliminations.
Hagan pushed his Mopar / Rocky Boots Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car to a 3.964 at 327.43 to better reigning world champion Del Worsham’s 3.958 at 324.20 in his DHL / Mello Yello Toyota Camry in another great final. This is Hagan’s 21st career win and first at the U.S. Nationals. The two-time champ has three wins so far this season and enters the Countdown in P3. Hagan sprinted past John Bojec, Robert Hight and Tommy Johnson Jr. en route to making his fifth final round appearance of the season.
“It’s incredible,” said Hagan. “This is something for the last nine years that I’ve been driving for Don Schumacher Racing we have been trying to accomplish and it’s not an easy task. I have the parts and pieces and people around me, especially [crew chief] Dickie Venables. I’m just proud to be a part of it. The fans got what they paid for today.”
Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Tequila Patron Toyota Camry, clinched the final Funny Car spot when Chad Head lost to Capps in the second round.
McGaha scored his first win in 2016 by racing his Harlow Sammons of Odessa Chevy Camaro to a 6.688 at 207.15 to defeat Allen Johnson’s 6.715 at 207.09 in his Marathon Petroleum Dodge Dart. McGaha, who has had four wins in his career, had this season scored a best result of second prior to Indianapolis.
“We got to keep doing what we were doing today,” said McGaha about his chances of winning the championship. “I’ve botched a lot of runs along the way. We shouldn’t even be in seventh. Between tire shaking and making bad calls and flat getting our butt kicked, we should be a lot higher. It’s not impossible at this point. Just got to keep winning.”
Johnson, making his third final round appearance of the season, raced past Brainerd winner Drew Skillman, seven-time 2016 event winner Greg Anderson and Shane Gray in the earlier rounds.
Gray, McGaha, back-to-back world champ Erica Enders and five-time world champ Jeg Coughlin penciled their names into the final four Countdown to the Championship spots in Pro Stock.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLES
Hines took over the Pro Stock Motorcycle points lead by riding his Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to a 6.682 at 194.63 in the final round to beat Hector Arana Jr., who red-lighted on his Lucas Oil Buell. He earned his 47th career win, fifth of the 2016 season and second at Lucas Oil Raceway with the effort. The winningest Pro Stock Motorcycle racer in NHRA history beat rookie Melissa Surber, Jerry Savoie and Sonoma winner LE Tonglet in the earlier rounds.
“I’ve had a good motorcycle of late, but it hasn’t been qualifying well,” said Hines, a five-time PSM champ. “I knew the potential of my Harley. I knew I had a bike that could go rounds and we just had to pick on it here and there. We’re getting closer to something that will work for us in the heat. We got to the final round and figured out the tune-up that needed to be in there. I’m happy I made my best run of the weekend in the final round.”
Arana Jr. made his first final round appearance of the season and will head into the playoffs as the #7 seed. LE Tonglet, Chip Ellis, Hector Arana Sr., Matt Smith and Reed all clinched spots into the Countdown to the Championship.
Final finish order at the 62nd annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway Park at Indianapolis
TOP FUEL:1. Tony Schumacher; 2. Steve Torrence; 3. Doug Kalitta; 4. J.R. Todd; 5. Antron Brown; 6. Shawn Langdon; 7. Brittany Force; 8. Clay Millican; 9. Pat Dakin; 10. Tripp Tatum; 11. T.J. Zizzo; 12. Bruce Litton; 13. Richie Crampton; 14. Morgan Lucas; 15. Leah Pritchett; 16. Terry McMillen.
Final: Tony Schumacher, 3.806 seconds, 317.64 mph def. Steve Torrence, 3.803 seconds, 325.06 mph.
FUNNY CAR: 1. Matt Hagan; 2. Del Worsham; 3. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 4. Ron Capps; 5. Chad Head; 6. Courtney Force; 7. Robert Hight; 8. Dave Richards; 9. John Force; 10. Jim Campbell; 11. Bob Bode; 12. John Hale; 13. Jack Beckman; 14. Alexis DeJoria; 15. Tim Wilkerson; 16. John Bojec.
Final: Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.964, 327.43 def. Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 3.958, 324.20.
PRO STOCK: 1. Chris McGaha; 2. Allen Johnson; 3. Shane Gray; 4. Vincent Nobile; 5. Greg Anderson; 6. Alex Laughlin; 7. Jason Line; 8. Curt Steinbach; 9. Aaron Strong; 10. Matt Hartford; 11. Drew Skillman; 12. Erica Enders; 13. Deric Kramer; 14. Jeg Coughlin; 15. Kenny Delco; 16. Bo Butner.
Final: Chris McGaha, Chevy Camaro, 6.688, 207.15 def. Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.715, 207.08.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE:1. Andrew Hines; 2. Hector Arana Jr; 3. LE Tonglet; 4. Cory Reed; 5. Eddie Krawiec; 6. Jerry Savoie; 7. Angelle Sampey; 8. Chip Ellis; 9. Matt Smith; 10. Karen Stoffer; 11. Michael Ray; 12. Melissa Surber; 13. Jim Underdahl; 14. Hector Arana; 15. Steve Johnson; 16. Scotty Pollacheck.
Final: Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.862, 194.63 def. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, Foul - Red Light.
Point standings after 18 of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series
These are the 40 contenders progressing to the Countdown to the Championship
TOP FUEL: 1. Antron Brown, 1,504; 2. Doug Kalitta, 1,370; 3. Steve Torrence, 1,367; 4. Tony Schumacher, 1,290; 5. Brittany Force, 1,247; 6. J.R. Todd, 1,090; 7. Shawn Langdon, 1,049; 8. Clay Millican, 908; 9. Richie Crampton, 889; 10. Leah Pritchett, 684.
FUNNY CAR: 1. Ron Capps, 1,532; 2. Del Worsham, 1,330; 3. Matt Hagan, 1,295; 4. Courtney Force, 1,282; 5. Jack Beckman, 1,200; 6. Robert Hight, 1,118; 7. Tommy Johnson Jr., 1,112; 8. John Force, 1,055; 9. Tim Wilkerson, 964; 10. Alexis DeJoria, 812.
PRO STOCK: 1. Jason Line, 1,843; 2. Greg Anderson, 1,772; 3. Bo Butner, 1,269; 4. Allen Johnson, 1,192; 5. Vincent Nobile, 1,121; 6. Drew Skillman, 1,000; 7. Chris McGaha, 969; 8. Shane Gray, 939; 9. Erica Enders, 788; 10. Jeg Coughlin, 775.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Andrew Hines, 1,026; 2. Eddie Krawiec, 985; 3. Angelle Sampey, 752; 4. Jerry Savoie, 743; 5. LE Tonglet, 631; 6. Chip Ellis, 535; 7. Hector Arana Jr, 526; 8. Hector Arana, 505; 9. Matt Smith, 449; 10. Cory Reed, 410.
C. Force wins Funny Car portion of NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootout
U.S. Nationals drama is a taster of what’s to come