Schumacher (TF), C. Force (FC), Connolly (PS), Hines (PSM) are NHRA winners at Texas


Top Fuel driver Tony Schumacher won his second race in as many days to highlight Sunday’s final round of the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex in Ennis, Texas.

Schumacher won Saturday’s final round of last week’s delayed Pep Boys NHRA Carolina Nationals, which was relocated to this weekend at Texas due to inclement weather and track conditions in Charlotte, N.C.

Then the Chicago-area native doubled-up with his record 76th national event win in Sunday’s race, taking over the lead in the Top Fuel standings, as well.

In winning his sixth FallNationals title, Schumacher (3.891 seconds/318.62 mph) defeated No. 1 qualifier J.R. Todd (4.134 seconds/251.49 mph) and now took over the points lead, 106 points ahead of second-ranked Steve Torrence and 107 points ahead of Countdown to the Championship No. 1 seed Doug Kalitta.

“It’s an unbelievable situation,” Schumacher said in a NHRA media release. “We’ve won two races in less than 24 hours. My family drove up, I won a race, we went to dinner, went to bed, came back, and won another race in under 24 hours.

“We have a 100-point leading going into two more back-to-back races. It’s brutal pressure. Going into it with this much momentum places that pressure on other people. Some will be able to handle it; some won’t.”

Others who won the delayed Charlotte final on Saturday were Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Jonathan Gray (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

As for other pro classes in Sunday’s final eliminations, Courtney Force (Funny Car), Dave Connolly (Pro Stock), and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were also winners in their classes.

The No. 1 qualifier coming into Sunday, Force (4.227 seconds/301.07 mph) earned the 11th win this season by a female racer in the NHRA pro ranks, defeating Del Worsham (4.309/285.65) in the finals.

“I’m proud of my team to come out here and make some great laps – especially out here in the heat of Texas,” Force said. “We needed to go some rounds today if we still wanted a shot at the championship. … We’ve made a huge move up and we’re still in the hunt (for the championship).”

Force’s father, 16-time Funny Car champ John Force, retains the lead in the FC standings with a 45-point margin over fellow teammate Robert Hight.

In Pro Stock, Connolly (6.616 seconds/210.55 mph) defeated teammate Shane Gray (6.617/210.73) to earn his second win of 2014 and 25th of his career. It was also the third straight Pro Stock win in as many races for Gray Motorsports.

“I’ve been very blessed with a lot of great opportunities and I would have to say this is one of the best,” Connolly said. “The camaraderie we have and the friendships we have grown over the year is unbelievable.

“We are out there having fun and running into each other in semifinals and finals and could not be better. … It is a win-win when we make it to the final and there is Gray Motorsports on both the doors.”

Jason Line continues to lead the Pro Stock standings, holding a 43-point lead over Connolly.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Hines earned his fifth win of the season (7.571 seconds at 186.54 mph). Opponent Steve Johnson suffered mechanical problems and was unable to compete in the final run.

It was Hines’ first career win at Texas and the 35th of his NHRA career.

The third race of the six-race NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs will be the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park near St. Louis, Sept. 26-28.


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Sunday’s final round results:

Top Fuel: Tony Schumacher, 3.891 seconds, 318.62 mph def. J.R. Todd, 4.134 seconds, 251.49 mph.

Funny Car: Courtney Force, Ford Mustang, 4.227, 301.07 def. Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 4.309, 285.65.

Pro Stock: Dave Connolly, Chevy Camaro, 6.616, 210.05 def. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.617, 210.73.

Pro Stock Motorcycle: Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 7.571, 186.54 def. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, broke.


Sunday’s final finishing order:

TOP FUEL: 1. Tony Schumacher; 2. J.R. Todd; 3. Shawn Langdon; 4. Troy Buff; 5. Bob Vandergriff; 6. Spencer Massey; 7. Steve Torrence; 8. Larry Dixon; 9. Antron Brown; 10. Morgan Lucas; 11. Khalid alBalooshi; 12. Leah Pritchett; 13. Doug Kalitta; 14. Richie Crampton; 15. Terry McMillen; 16. Billy Torrence.

FUNNY CAR: 1. Courtney Force; 2. Del Worsham; 3. Tim Wilkerson; 4. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 5. Robert Hight; 6. Alexis DeJoria; 7. John Force; 8. Matt Hagan; 9. Ron Capps; 10. Tony Pedregon; 11. Bob Tasca III; 12. Cruz Pedregon; 13. Chad Head; 14. Jeff Arend; 15. Jeff Diehl; 16. Jack Beckman.

PRO STOCK: 1. Dave Connolly; 2. Shane Gray; 3. Jonathan Gray; 4. Vincent Nobile; 5. Erica Enders-Stevens; 6. Allen Johnson; 7. Greg Anderson; 8. Jason Line; 9. Chris McGaha; 10. Rodger Brogdon; 11. V. Gaines; 12. John Gaydosh Jr; 13. Aaron Stanfield; 14. Jeg Coughlin; 15. Matt Hartford; 16. Shane Tucker.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Andrew Hines; 2. Steve Johnson; 3. Matt Smith; 4. Scotty Pollacheck; 5. Jerry Savoie; 6. Shawn Gann; 7. Freddie Camarena; 8. John Hall; 9. Hector Arana; 10. Chaz Kennedy; 11. Angelle Sampey; 12. Angie Smith; 13. LE Tonglet; 14. Adam Arana; 15. Hector Arana Jr; 16. Eddie Krawiec.


Sunday’s final round-by-round results:

TOP FUEL: ROUND ONE — Spencer Massey, 3.831, 321.27 def. Richie Crampton, 4.755, 161.67; Shawn Langdon, 3.805, 321.19 def. Antron Brown, 3.876, 308.50; Bob Vandergriff, 3.818, 321.50 def. Terry McMillen, 4.991, 148.99; J.R. Todd, 3.815, 323.04 def. Morgan Lucas, 4.088, 228.58; Troy Buff, 3.841, 311.05 def. Doug Kalitta, 4.353, 196.13; Steve Torrence, 3.831, 324.05 def. Khalid alBalooshi, 4.227, 224.92; Tony Schumacher, 3.817, 320.97 def. Leah Pritchett, 4.254, 223.80; Larry Dixon, 4.171, 208.52 def. Billy Torrence, 5.196, 135.22;

QUARTERFINALS — Buff, 3.961, 293.73 def. Dixon, 5.857, 150.70; Schumacher, 3.854, 320.05 def. Vandergriff, 3.934, 302.69; Todd, 3.864, 316.67 def. Massey, 4.147, 236.55; Langdon, 4.622, 234.78 def. S. Torrence, 4.913, 194.24;

SEMIFINALS — Todd, 4.253, 237.13 def. Langdon, 4.320, 270.32; Schumacher, 3.930, 309.06 def. Buff, 4.889, 160.16;

FINAL — Schumacher, 3.891, 318.62 def. Todd, 4.134, 251.49.

FUNNY CAR: ROUND ONE — John Force, Ford Mustang, 4.111, 309.42 def. Jeff Arend, Dodge Charger, 4.259, 293.66; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.775, 169.91 def. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, foul; Courtney Force, Mustang, 4.173, 305.56 def. Tony Pedregon, Camry, 4.232, 297.81; Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.173, 304.25 def. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.223, 295.72; Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.171, 299.06 def. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Solara, 6.424, 104.10; Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.221, 270.81 def. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.243, 297.29; Del Worsham, Camry, 4.213, 297.16 def. Chad Head, Camry, 4.257, 293.09; Robert Hight, Mustang, 4.501, 271.57 def. Jack Beckman, Charger, 10.679, 71.72;

QUARTERFINALS — Johnson Jr., 4.192, 302.08 def. J. Force, 4.532, 205.38; Wilkerson, 4.209, 295.59 def. Hagan, 4.537, 230.76; C. Force, 4.161, 305.49 def. Hight, 4.214, 300.80; Worsham, 4.272, 288.03 def. DeJoria, 4.340, 248.93;

SEMIFINALS — Worsham, 4.178, 302.41 def. Wilkerson, 4.221, 296.50; C. Force, 4.218, 299.06 def. Johnson Jr., 4.254, 268.54;

FINAL — C. Force, 4.227, 301.07 def. Worsham, 4.309, 285.65.

PRO STOCK: ROUND ONE — Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.595, 210.97 def. Jeg Coughlin, Dodge Dart, 9.460, 108.85; Dave Connolly, Camaro, 6.597, 210.57 def. Shane Tucker, Camaro, broke; Erica Enders-Stevens, Camaro, 6.574, 210.44 def. Rodger Brogdon, Camaro, 6.646, 209.49; Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.581, 210.77 def. Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 8.575, 111.81; Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 6.572, 210.83 def. V. Gaines, Dodge Avenger, 6.646, 209.26; Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.568, 210.87 def. Matt Hartford, Avenger, 9.510, 97.74; Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.566, 210.70 def. John Gaydosh Jr, Pontiac GXP, 6.730, 205.82; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.574, 210.80 def. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.617, 208.71;

QUARTERFINALS — Nobile, 6.625, 209.72 def. Line, 12.243, 69.72; J. Gray, 6.597, 209.92 def. Enders-Stevens, 6.599, 209.98; Connolly, 6.603, 209.33 def. Johnson, 6.607, 210.47; S. Gray, 6.604, 210.14 def. Anderson, foul;

SEMIFINALS — S. Gray, 6.617, 210.18 def. Nobile, 6.677, 209.65; Connolly, 6.616, 209.85 def. J. Gray, 6.651, 207.21;

FINAL — Connolly, 6.616, 210.05 def. S. Gray, 6.617, 210.73.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: ROUND ONE — Matt Smith, Buell, 6.920, 194.02 def. Adam Arana, Buell, 7.169, 189.73; Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 6.948, 193.54 def. Chaz Kennedy, Buell, 6.958, 192.60; Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.928, 193.24 def. Angie Smith, Buell, 6.996, 190.35; John Hall, Buell, 6.975, 192.82 def. Angelle Sampey, Buell, 6.978, 182.45; Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.929, 192.88 def. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 7.007, 182.16; Shawn Gann, Buell, 6.959, 188.70 def. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 7.550, 135.14; Freddie Camarena, Suzuki, 7.025, 194.30 def. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 22.232, 32.59; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.883, 194.38 def. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.906, 195.28;

QUARTERFINALS — Pollacheck, 7.000, 191.10 def. Gann, 7.018, 190.08; Johnson, 6.901, 192.93 def. Hall, 15.294, 35.54; M. Smith, 6.954, 193.13 def. Camarena, 7.093, 188.81; Hines, 6.909, 192.88 def. Savoie, foul;

SEMIFINALS — Hines, 6.926, 193.18 def. Pollacheck, 6.980, 190.97; Johnson, 6.979, 187.34 def. M. Smith, 6.940, 191.43;

FINAL — Hines, 7.571, 186.54 def. Johnson, broke.


Updated points standings:

Top Fuel: 1. Tony Schumacher, 2,296; 2. Steve Torrence, 2,190; 3. Doug Kalitta, 2,189; 4. Shawn Langdon, 2,181; 5. J.R. Todd, 2,168; 6. Spencer Massey, 2,167; 7. Khalid alBalooshi, 2,156; 8. Antron Brown, 2,143; 9. Richie Crampton, 2,085; 10. Brittany Force, 2,053.

Funny Car: 1. John Force, 2,258; 2. Robert Hight, 2,213; 3. Matt Hagan, 2,209; 4. Courtney Force, 2,197; 5. (tie) Ron Capps, 2,164; Alexis DeJoria, 2,164; 7. Tommy Johnson Jr., 2,162; 8. Del Worsham, 2,135; 9. Tim Wilkerson, 2,123; 10. Cruz Pedregon, 2,093.

Pro Stock: 1. Jason Line, 2,266; 2. Dave Connolly, 2,223; 3. Shane Gray, 2,218; 4. Erica Enders-Stevens, 2,207; 5. Jonathan Gray, 2,192; 6. Vincent Nobile, 2,186; 7. Allen Johnson, 2,166; 8. Jeg Coughlin, 2,150; 9. V. Gaines, 2,103; 10. Chris McGaha, 2,073.

Pro Stock Motorcycle: 1. Andrew Hines, 2,302; 2. Eddie Krawiec, 2,257; 3. Steve Johnson, 2,198; 4. Hector Arana Jr, 2,177; 5. Matt Smith, 2,169; 6. Scotty Pollacheck, 2,144; 7. John Hall, 2,139; 8. Hector Arana, 2,122; 9. Angie Smith, 2,094; 10. Michael Ray, 2,071.

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Lessons learned in three rounds of Extreme E pay huge dividends in the Copper X Prix for Tanner Foust

Foust Copper X Prix
McLaren Racing

To paraphrase the Grateful Dead, what a long, unique trip it’s been for Tanner Foust in his first season with the Extreme E series as he took his early season lessons to Chile to compete in the Copper X Prix. And he’s learned his lessons well.

In February, McLaren announced they would expand their motorsports program with an Extreme E entry. They signed two talented rally drivers in Foust and Emma Gilmour – and paired them for the opening round in Neom, Saudi Arabia with just a few days of testing under their belts. Baked by the Arabian desert sun, it was trial by fire.

The duo performed well in their debut, advancing into the final round and finishing fifth. As Extreme E headed to another desert halfway across the globe for Round 4, it was a good time to catch up with Foust and ask about McLaren’s progress. The Copper X Prix was held this past weekend in one of the most extreme regions in the world: the Atacama Desert.

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“The shock going into the first race was the speed,” Foust told NBC Sports. “It was much higher than we had tested. We spent a lot of time around 100 miles per hour [in race trim] and our testing speeds were more in the 60 to 70-mile range. Then, once we sort of got around that, the car got updated so you can drive it even faster.”

In rally racing, some incidents are out of a driver’s control. Even peeking around another car can be dangerous because of potholes that have recently been gouged in the ground or large bushes that seem to sprout up between laps. A couple of rollovers brought Foust back to earth – but the pace was there and that was important.

“We had some challenges this season,” Foust said prior to the Copper X Prix. “We had a good start; made the final, which is a difficult thing to do in this series. I had two rolls in the first three events, but I have improved each time. Now we come into Round 4 in Chile in a pretty strong position. We have competitive times as a team. We are communicating really well and have our heads around this Odyssey vehicle.”

Foust’s words proved to be prophetic.

He won the Crazy Race – Extreme E’s version of a Last Chance Qualifier – and did so after passing the field. It was the same manner in which he qualified for Saudi Arabia’s finale, but this time things would be better. There were those hard-earned lessons on which to lean – and Foust had reps under his belt. He was not going to be caught off guard by any random obstacles.

Tanner Foust passed Sebastien Loeb heading to the Switch Zone in the Copper X Prix. (Photo by Sam Bagnall / LAT Images)

In the Copper X Prix finale, he pressured one of the best rally drivers in the history of the sport.

Pitching sideways through a tight left-hander late in his stint, Foust put his McLaren Extreme E Odyssey at the head of the pack in front of Sebastien Loeb as they headed to the Switch Zone. There, he would turn the car over to his co-driver Gilmour.

The Extreme E series pairs male and female drivers with both taking a turn behind the wheel.

After the driver change, Gilmour lost the lead momentarily to Loeb’s teammate Cristina Gutierrez, but as they charged toward the finish line, she surged ahead and crossed under the checkers first.

“What an improvement for the team over this year,” Foust said after the race. “We have struggled through some of the events, being in our first year in competition. We showed true pace this weekend; overtaking Sebastien Loeb was a highlight.

“Emma put in a great run in the Final. I was fortunate to go from last to first in the Crazy Race and then first in the Final but with some flag penalties, we had 20 seconds added to our time, which put us into fifth. It was a great feeling crossing the line first, I love this wide style track and the NEOM McLaren Odyssey was fantastic here.

“Hopefully we can continue that momentum into Uruguay.”

Loeb and Gutierrez were elevated to the top of the podium, but no one can take away the feeling of crossing under the checkers first.

Racing Responsibly

Since cars were first invented, racing has played a socially responsible role by improving safety. As Earth reaches a tipping point with climate change, racing needs to adapt to these new needs and requirements, which is where Extreme E’s unique strategy becomes increasingly important.

The Extreme E experience is more than simple racing. Each race is accompanied by a legacy program designed to offset damage done by climate change and to erase the footprint caused by the events.

Foust, a biology major from the University of Colorado, was given the chance to rekindle his interest and give back to the environment ahead of the Copper X Prix.

The Atacama is the oldest desert in the world at 150 million years. It is the driest place on earth and has the highest degree of ultraviolet light. And yet somehow life perseveres through underground rivers with oases dating back to Incan times. Foust participated in preparing a local habitat for the reintroduction of a critically endangered water frog to Chile’s longest river, the Loa, which snakes its way through the desert.

“I’m loving the experience,” Foust said. “I’m putting on a lot of Chapstick, a lot of sunscreen. What a fascinating part of the world. I never would have come here otherwise.

“I honestly am very honored to be a part of this sport. I am a huge believer in the fact that motorsports has done us good in the last 100 years. I think we benefit every single time we put our seatbelts on and drive down the road to the lessons learned in racing since the turn of the century. And I really hope motorsports continues that tradition.

“I think that motorsports like [Extreme E] does it in a responsible way, a gender-neutral way and a carbon-neutral way.”