VIEWS: 31 PAGES: 8 CATEGORY: Engineering & Energy POSTED ON: 6/25/2010
1 Professional driver without a firstround loss this season (Jeg Coughlin) 2 final rounds in the last two races for Michael Phillips (five in the previous 135) 2 Top Fuel drivers to win Indy in the past decade (Tony Schumacher and Larry Dixon) 3 reaction times quicker than .030 for Brandon Angelle Sampey, Ashley Force Hood Bernstein this season (leads Top Fuel class) 3 wins for Hector Arana in 2009, compared to one in his previous 19 seasons 3 women to win Indy in a Professional category (Shirley Muldowney, 3reaction times quicker than .030 for Brandon Angelle Sampey, Ashley Force Hood) 4Indy wins for Jeg Coughlin (three in Pro Stock, one in Super Gas, 1992) 4straight Indy finals for Robert Hight 5head-to-head matchups between Spencer Massey and Larry Dixon this season (Dixon leads 3-2) 6straight Ringers Gloves Pro Bike Battle wins for the Screamin' Eagle team 6Pro Stock drivers to qualify for every race this year (Greg Anderson, Jeg Coughlin, Mike Edwards, Johnny Gray, Rickie Jones, Jason Line) 6world champs out of a possible 11 Indy winners 8Indy wins for Tony Schumacher (tying Don Garlits for most in Top Fuel history) 8straight Indy finals for Schumacher 10No.
EVENT OVERVIEW — 55th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, Sept. 2-7, Indianapolis Tony Schumacher’s love affair with the Indy Wally continued unabated with the driver of the U.S. Army dragster winning the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals for the eighth time in 10 years. Schumacher clinched the win and a tie with Don Garlits for most wins in the class at the Big Go by defeating the only other driver to win the race this decade, Larry Dixon, who was at the wheel of the Al-Anabi dragster of Alan Johnson, who tuned Schumacher to so many of his 60 career wins. Schumacher makes some history, Force Hood survives the drama, and Coughlin and Arana both will their way to U.S. Nationals glory INDIANAPOLIS — When legend “Big Daddy” into the Countdown to 1 and with Ashley Force Don Garlits won his sixth, seventh, and eighth U.S. Hood beating first Tony Pedregon then Hight to win Nationals Top Fuel titles in quick succession from Indy for the second time, all supercharged by a 1984 through 1986, NHRA race fans could not have heated exchange between the John Force Racing and imagined that another driver someday would so Pedregon camps. thoroughly own the sport’s biggest race in its most And though Pro Stock champ Jeg Coughlin became iconic class. just the 15th racer to score four or more U.S. Nationals Then came Tony Schumacher, who, with his Wallys, Pro Stock Motorcycle winner Hector Arana victory at this year’s 55th annual Mac Tools U.S. joined the elite list of drivers to triumph at the world’s Nationals presented by Lucas Oil, tied Garlits’ long- biggest drag race, and the Countdown to 1 fields were standing and seemingly unassailable record with his sealed, those heroics played out a bit in the shadows of astonishing eighth Indy win in the last 10 years. the fuel classes, where drama and passion were And after Funny Car’s Robert Hight spent the whipped to fever pitch. last 10 races mired in 12th place and seemingly out Given the way the decade of Top Fuel in Indy has of contention for the Countdown to 1 playoffs, no gone, it should be no surprise that for the fourth time one gave him much of a chance of cracking the top in eight years, the final pitted the only two guys to 10, let alone on a stage as big as Indy or under the win the Big Go this decade: Schumacher, a seven-time pressure of doing it at the last race possible. winner, and Dixon, who won the race in his rookie Then came as wild and crazy a Monday as any season in 1995 and two times since. In a true battle Funny Car fan can probably remember, a day that of class heavyweights and a bit of a grudge match ended with Hight squeezing past Cruz Pedregon and with former Schumacher tuner Alan Johnson now 18 ✦ National DRAGSTER 1 Professional driver without a first- round loss this season (Jeg Coughlin) 2 final rounds in the last two races for Michael Phillips (five in the previous 135) 2 Top Fuel drivers to win Indy in the past decade (Tony Schumacher and Larry Dixon) 55th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, Sept. 2-7, Indianapolis from page 19 Robert Hight, near lane, defeated his turned Friday, beginning with Thursday’s boss, John Force, in the semifinals of announcement that hall of fame crew chief Austin Funny Car to lock up the final spot in Coil was hospitalized with stomach ailments and the Countdown to 1. Force got out of would not attend. Hight began his long-shot bid at the groove and smoked the tires. knocking Cruz Pedregon from the Funny Car Countdown to 1 by leading a JFR domination of the top half of qualifying. He qualified No. 1, Force Hood was No. 2, Mike Neff No. 3, and Force — who had failed to make the show at the last two U.S. Nationals — was fifth, separated only by Cruzer. Force Hood, who won the 2004 Big Go in Top Alcohol Dragster, reached her second U.S. Nationals final but her first at the event in Funny Car by powering her Dean Antonelli- and Ron Douglas-tuned Castrol GTX Mustang past Matt Hagan — knocking the rookie from playoff contention — then followed what was going on that day. Now, I can look back reasons. He was trying to protect Jason Line’s with victories against Jeff Arend and Tony Pedregon. and appreciate it. It’s funny because before that final opportunity to unseed us for the No. 1 spot going into Following the victory over points leader Pedregon — round, I was thinking, ‘OK, Robert seems to have the Countdown to 1. The win over Greg all but sealed who locked up the No. 1 seed in the playoffs in magic here. When that team comes here, they do the No. 1 spot for us, which means a lot because you round one — emotions ran high in the shutdown really well.’ Either way, team Force was going to get get an extra 20 points going into it. That’s how we area, where Force and Hight stood after Hight had in that winner’s circle.” started the day, but then good old Lady Luck put us defeated his tire-smoking boss to knock Cruz from The Pro Stock title bout between Coughlin and through the next two rounds, without question. We had the playoffs and reach the Indy final for the third first-time Indy finalist Greg Stanfield was a rematch really good luck in the first round against Greg; right straight year. of their Las Vegas duel, which Coughlin won, and a at the top of 3rd gear getting ready to go into 4th, the Accusations had been made by the Pedregons about battle between a pair of the few drivers to have won transmission actually broke a gear and shattered my how Force had lost to Hight and were followed by national events in five classes. Coughlin won again, arm for a split second. Fortunately, it went into 4th superheated discussions between Force and former this time by the narrowest of margins — .001-second gear and 5th ge
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