Tony Schumacher sets NHRA Top Fuel No. 1 qualifying record

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One day after setting a career best low elapsed time mark, Tony Schumacher recorded a NHRA Top Fuel record by earning his 77th No. 1 qualifying position Saturday in advance of Sunday’s final eliminations of the CARQUEST Auto Parts Nationals in suburban Phoenix.

Schumacher, who won his eighth NHRA Top Fuel championship last season, earned the No. 1 spot in his category, while fellow 2014 champs Matt Hagan (Funny Car) and Erica Enders-Stevens (Pro Stock) were top qualifiers in their respective classes.

Schumacher on Friday set a career-quick run of 3.722 seconds at 325.61 mph. He had two other runs in the 3.7-second range on Saturday at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, Ariz.

“It is great that we went down the track on all four runs and got every point except one,” Schumacher said in an NHRA media release. “It is more impressive that the run was my career-best.

“The car is making good, quality runs down the track and it is being consistent. If we can continue to do that we’ve got a good chance of going out and winning some races.”

Schumacher will start Sunday’s eliminations facing Jenna Haddock, a rematch from last season’s race in when Haddock beat Schumacher in her first career start.

“We’ll go out there and do our job, not try to smoke the tires in the first round like we did in Denver,” Schumacher said. “That was an exciting win when she beat me in Denver – I just don’t want her to get used to it.”

In Funny Car, Hagan overtook Courtney Force, who earned the provisional pole in Friday’s qualifying. Hagan recorded a track record elapsed time Saturday with a run of 3.978 seconds (at 320.28 mph).

Hagan, who is also Schumacher’s teammate, is looking to make it two wins in a row, having won the season opener in Pomona, Calif., two weeks ago.

“It speaks volumes of why we are a championship team,” said Hagan, who will face Jeff Diehl in Sunday’s first round. “That thing was just really digging and posted some great numbers.

“This team continues to grow and we are really coming together and have great chemistry. I am very excited what this year has to hold for us and I think we are going to win a lot of races this season.”

In Pro Stock, Enders-Stevens earned her second No. 1 qualifier position of the season and 14th of her career, as no driver on Saturday could beat her best effort on Friday of 6.545 (at 211.20 mph).

Enders, who won this race last season, faces Joey Grose in the first round Sunday.

“It’s just a great start to the year … a better start to the year than we had in 2014,” Enders-Stevens said. “It would definitely be great to win early in the year. It, obviously, doesn’t determine where you end up, but it certainly helps boost confidence and morale.”

SUNDAY’S FIRST ROUND PAIRINGS

Top Fuel: 1. Tony Schumacher, 3.722 seconds, 325.69 mph  vs. 16. Jenna Haddock, 4.015, 295.59; 2. Doug Kalitta, 3.733, 329.02  vs. 15. Clay Millican, 3.924, 311.34; 3. Richie Crampton, 3.739, 324.51  vs. 14. Troy Buff, 3.905, 306.81; 4. J.R. Todd, 3.753, 323.97  vs. 13. Terry McMillen, 3.844, 310.27; 5. Antron Brown, 3.753, 318.69  vs. 12. Dave Connolly, 3.804, 321.58; 6. Shawn Langdon, 3.755, 319.37  vs. 11. Leah Pritchett, 3.794, 317.72; 7. Steve Torrence, 3.760, 325.85 vs. 10. Brittany Force, 3.792, 323.81; 8. Larry Dixon, 3.778, 324.05  vs. 9. Spencer Massey, 3.791, 321.81.  Did Not Qualify: 17. Steven Chrisman, 4.410, 218.90.

Funny Car: 1. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.978, 320.28  vs. 16. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Solara, 4.866, 264.96; 2. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.996, 321.58  vs. 15. Shane Westerfield, Charger, 4.558, 273.22; 3. Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 3.997, 319.98  vs. 14. John Hale, Charger, 4.194, 307.23; 4. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.000, 313.58  vs. 13. Tony Pedregon, Camry, 4.060, 310.13; 5. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.003, 315.27  vs. 12. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.047, 309.63; 6. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.020, 316.30  vs. 11. Chad Head, Camry, 4.043, 309.13; 7. John Force, Camaro, 4.025, 315.05  vs. 10. Robert Hight, Chevrolet Camaro, 4.038, 318.47; 8. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.032, 306.60  vs. 9. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.034, 314.39.  Did Not Qualify: 17. Terry Haddock, 5.082, 181.84.

Pro Stock: 1. Erica Enders-Stevens, Chevy Camaro, 6.545, 211.26  vs. 16. Joey Grose, Camaro, 6.689, 207.05; 2. Rodger Brogdon, Camaro, 6.545, 211.63  vs. 15. Deric Kramer, Dodge Avenger, 6.643, 208.91; 3. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.548, 211.20  vs. 14. Matt Hartford, Pontiac GXP, 6.632, 209.14; 4. Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.551, 211.36  vs. 13. Jimmy Alund, GXP, 6.626, 209.69; 5. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.559, 210.54  vs. 12. V. Gaines, Dart, 6.620, 209.95; 6. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.562, 211.59  vs. 11. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.586, 210.87; 7. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.565, 211.46 vs. 10. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 6.578, 210.34; 8. Larry Morgan, Camaro, 6.569, 211.89  vs. 9. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.578, 210.67.  Did Not Qualify: 17. Jeff Isbell, 6.718, 205.98.

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