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2 new points leaders (Tony Schumacher, Robert Hight) 2 right-lane wins in 30 Top Fuel and Funny Car rounds 3 Top Fuel drivers with five victories this season (four multiple winners) 3 consecutive Top Fuel wins for Don Schumacher Racing 4 wins for Tony Schumacher at Texas Motorplex, the most of any Top Fuel racer 4 times in five races that Schumacher has defeated Larry Dixon this year 5 career Pro runner-ups for Johnny Gray 5 wins in five finals this year for Hector Arana 9 finals this season for Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Eddie Krawiec 9 positions Robert Hight has moved up in Funny Car standings since Indy (10th to first) 10 wins for Jack Beckman over John Force in 15 races 10 Hector Arana's ranking among all-time NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle winners 11 career top speeds set by Michael Phillips (tied for eighth all time) 12 No. 1 qualifying spots for Mike Edwards with four races to go (record is Greg Anderson's 16 set in 2004) 71 events since John Force Racing last won three races in a row (2006 Memphis, Indy, and Dallas) 76 second-generation winners (John Lombardo Sr. and Jr. ar the latest) 80 races between semifinal appearances for Jerry Toliver (Houston 2004) 530 round-wins for Larry Dixon, the most in Top Fuel history

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									       EVENT OVERVIEW — 24th annual O’Reilly Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals presented by Castrol Syntec, Sept. 24-27, Dallas

   Schumacher, Hight, Arana continue to win,
     lead points; Anderson stops Edwards,
          climbs back into contention
    DALLAS — There’s no escaping the fact that Texas             Schumacher won in Top Fuel for the fifth time         Racing team had earned final-round lane choice by a
is a football-crazy state. High school teams play in          this season, Hight for the second straight time in       scant .003-second and, naturally, punted Schumacher
stadiums that rival other states’ college facilities, NCAA    three consecutive Funny Car finals, and Arana for        into the right lane, where no Top Fuel driver had
teams such as the University of Texas Longhorns               the fourth time at the last five Pro Stock Motorcycle    won all day in the preceding 14 pairings.
regularly play before more than 100,000 rabid fans,           races, and each emerged from the second of six              Incredibly, Schumacher’s Mike Green-tuned
and, of course, there’s “America’s Team,” the NFL             events in NHRA’s Countdown to 1 playoffs with the        machine blitzed down the derided right lane to a
Dallas Cowboys.                                               points lead.                                             3.94 while Dixon was thrown for a loss with mid-
    Texas in September is supposed to be football                For a time, no one in any class had a hotter hand     track tire smoke.
weather, with cooling temps and glory under the lights,       than Pro Stock points leader Mike Edwards, who              “That was huge,” said Schumacher. “To get
but Sunday’s mid-90-degree temperatures under a clear         dominated qualifying and became the first driver in      stuffed in the right lane [and win], that’s a
blue Lone Star sky created a playing field on the             any class to sweep all 12 qualifying bonus points. He    statement. That’s just Mike Green doing a heckuva
dragstrip tilted heavily to the left lane, requiring a deft   seemed well on his way to a winning drive until he       job. He even said, ‘Let’s not get stuck in the right
passing touch and ongoing possession game for lane            fumbled his chances on the starting line against         lane; let’s choose it,’ and kept it positive, and we
choice for success.                                           eventual winner Greg Anderson. Edwards still is the      went right down it. The right lane wasn’t that bad; it
    It already seems a given that the four Full Throttle      favorite — even among his peers — to win the             was clear you could go down it. We took the left lane
Drag Racing Series world championship battles will go         championship, but Anderson made up some needed           in the final last year and got beat by J.R. Todd. I
down to the wire at the season’s final event in Pomona,       ground to keep himself in the hunt.                      think a lot of people who got put in the right lane
and should Tony Schumacher, Robert Hight, or Hector              Schumacher’s U.S. Army Top Fuel team certainly        just misjudged it. It’s extremely important at this
Arana finish on top, they’ll no doubt look fondly back        faced a fourth-and-long situation heading into a         track to keep the car in the middle of the groove,
at a weekend in Texas when their racing fortunes              crucial final-round battle with Larry Dixon that not     and we did.
continued to be as hot as the brutal Sunday Texas             only was a continuation of the ongoing power                “Beating Larry Dixon and Alan Johnson and my
afternoon on which they reached the winner’s circle at        struggle between the decade’s only two world champs      old team is just special; if you can’t rise to the
Texas Motorplex as champions of the 24th annual               and a rematch of their final at the Mac Tools U.S.       occasion against guys like that who you know are
O’Reilly Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals            Nationals presented by Lucas Oil, but also a battle      great like that, you don’t belong in here racing cars.”
presented by Castrol Syntec.                                  for the points lead. Dixon’s Al-Anabi/Alan Johnson          Schumacher, who won his first Top Fuel race here

18 ✦ National DRAGSTER
                                   2    new points leaders (Tony
                                        Schumacher, Robert Hight)                     2   right-lane wins in 30 Top Fuel
                                                                                          and Funny Car rounds                         3    Top Fuel drivers with five victories
                                                                                                                                            this season (four multiple winners)
        24th annual O’Reilly Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals presented by Castrol Syntec, Sept. 24-27, Dallas
from page 19
                                                                                             event’s top two           to win three more, and I’ll be good. I really don’t
                                                                                             qualifiers that would     want to focus on the championship, just about
good shot in the right                                                                       decide the points lead,   getting the motor ready and going to Memphis.”
lane but lost a close                                                                        reigning world champ         Anderson earned the Pro Stock win in his
battle, 4.21, 296.44 to                                                                      Eddie Krawiec got         Summit Racing GXP, the 59th of his career, in a
4.27, 292.58                                                                                 away first, .017 to       game of inches. He won the final round by a narrow
    “This is probably                                                                        .033, but Arana chased .002-second margin after tracking down Johnny
the best race car I’ve                                                                       him down in the lights Gray’s .034 to .061 holeshot, 6.684, 207.11 to 6.713,
ever had,” said Hight.                                                                       for his third straight    206.64. Anderson dodged a bullet in the semi’s when
“We’ve won races and                                                                         win, 6.97, 190.67 to      Edwards became distracted by his own flickering
been close to winning                                                                        7.00, 190.43. Arana,      stage bulbs and was late off the line; in round two,
the championship, but                                                                        who entered the event     Anderson had posted a super-narrow .0004-second
we’ve never been this                                                                        in the points lead just   victory over Allen Johnson’s Dodge.
dominant, this                                                                               nine markers in front        “I can’t remember stealing one like we did today,”
consistent, this steady;                                                                     of Krawiec, left with a   Anderson admitted. “I didn’t exactly wake up this
it’s going down the          For four qualifying runs and two eliminations rounds, Mike 27-point edge.                 morning brimming with confidence because Mike
racetrack every run.         Edwards dominated Pro Stock, but he got distracted by his           Arana reached his     Edwards is making us all look bad. We like to be the
The only person to           own flickering of the stage bulb against Greg Anderson in third straight final and        performance leader, and we’re not, and it’s driving
beat me is my                the semifinals and lost.                                        fifth of the season       us nuts. It certainly wouldn’t have been a big shock
teammate [Force                                                                              aboard his Lucas Oil      to exit early today. We just fought and clawed and
Hood] in Indy in the final, but it’s not hurting parts,     Buell from the No. 2 spot with a dominating early          found a way to win all four
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