NHRA: Tony Schumacher, John Force, Larry Dixon set Bristol track records

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Track records continued to fall Saturday during the final day of qualifying for the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol (Tenn.) Dragway.

Top Fuel driver Tony Schumacher set a elapsed time track record for the second straight day on Saturday, fellow Top Fuel driver Larry Dixon set a speed track record (331.04 mph), and John Force also set two Funny Car track marks.

After the track and fans waited out a rain delay, both 8-time world champ Schumacher and 16-time world champ Force qualified No. 1 in their respective categories, along with Erica Enders in Pro Stock.

Final eliminations begin at Noon ET on Sunday at the track located across the street from Bristol Motor Speedway.

Schumacher set a track record for quickest elapsed time during Friday’s qualifying, then re-set that mark one day later on Saturday with a 3.745-second pass (at 326.08 mph) in the early evening.

It was Schumacher’s third No. 1 qualifying mark of the season, his fourth at Bristol and 79th of his career. He will face Troy Buff in the first round of eliminations Sunday.

“That was a great run but it doesn’t mean a whole lot,” Schumacher said in a NHRA media release. The Chicago-area native is seeking his sixth career win at Bristol.

“We’re going to be racing in 90-degree temperatures (Sunday),” Schumacher said. “It’s going to be up to the crew that gets down a difficult track and not just throwing horsepower at it like we just did.”

Doug Kalitta qualified No. 2 (3.750 seconds at 329.50 mph), while Shawn Langdon qualified third (3.767 at 322.42). Spencer Massey qualified fourth while Dixon will start fifth.

In Funny Car, Force set track records for elapsed time (3.978 seconds) and speed (323.43 mph), also under the lights, to claim the No. 1 qualifying spot for the first time this season and in his career at Bristol, and the 153rd No. 1 of his career.

“What’s really good to see is the team grow,” said Force, who will face Terry Haddock in the first round. “Jon Schaffer was groomed as crew chief under Mike Neff for the last four or five years. He didn’t have a clue but earned this shot. We rallied a bunch of kids. This is what I dreamed of doing.”

Two-time and defending world champ Matt Hagan qualified No. 2 (3.996 at 322.04), while Jack Beckman qualified No. 3 (3.966 at 319.60).

In Pro Stock, Enders paced her class with a run of 6.632 seconds at 207.59 mph. She’s looking to repeat last year’s win at Bristol.

“It was definitely a long day,” Enders said. “We went out there and we knew that the air got better and that the racetrack was in the best condition it’s been all weekend. We went after it but still was conservative. My crew chiefs did a great job.”

Greg Anderson qualified No. 2 (6.646 at 206.67) and Chris McGaha qualified No. 3 (6.647 at 206.67).

SUNDAY’S FIRST ROUND PAIRINGS:

Top Fuel: 1. Tony Schumacher, 3.745 seconds, 326.08 mph  vs. 16. Troy Buff, 3.961, 300.86; 2. Doug Kalitta, 3.750, 329.50  vs. 15. Terry McMillen, 3.897, 315.86; 3. Shawn Langdon, 3.767, 322.42  vs. 14. Pat Dakin, 3.885, 310.98; 4. Spencer Massey, 3.768, 326.63  vs. 13. Leah Pritchett, 3.861, 319.60; 5. Larry Dixon, 3.769, 331.04  vs. 12. Clay Millican, 3.812, 318.17; 6. Antron Brown, 3.770, 320.66  vs. 11. Richie Crampton, 3.805, 318.47; 7. Dave Connolly, 3.778, 323.81  vs. 10. Steve Torrence, 3.791, 324.75; 8. Brittany Force, 3.787, 316.82  vs. 9. J.R. Todd, 3.790, 318.62. Did Not Qualify: 17. Chris Karamesines, 3.976, 300.53; 18. Cory McClenathan, 3.993, 302.35; 19. Jenna Haddock, 4.232, 219.36.

Funny Car: 1. John Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.978, 323.43  vs. 16. Terry Haddock, Toyota Solara, 5.156, 159.85; 2. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.996, 322.04  vs. 15. Jeff Diehl, Solara, 4.521, 263.77; 3. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.996, 319.60  vs. 14. John Hale, Charger, 4.227, 294.31; 4. Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 4.006, 322.58  vs. 13. Chad Head, Camry, 4.121, 303.23; 5. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.025, 314.90  vs. 12. Tony Pedregon, Camry, 4.109, 307.72; 6. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.027, 318.32  vs. 11. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.070, 306.33; 7. Courtney Force, Camaro, 4.046, 316.82  vs. 10. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.052, 305.91; 8. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.048, 317.49  vs. 9. Robert Hight, Chevrolet Camaro, 4.049, 318.02. Did Not Qualify: 17. Paul Lee, 6.321, 273.83.

Pro Stock: 1. Erica Enders, Chevy Camaro, 6.632, 207.59  vs. 16. John Gaydosh Jr, Chevrolet Camaro, 6.743, 203.86; 2. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.646, 206.83  vs. 15. V. Gaines, Dodge Dart, 6.739, 205.82; 3. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.647, 207.02  vs. 14. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.714, 204.60; 4. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.651, 207.82  vs. 13. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.691, 205.85; 5. Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.652, 206.89  vs. 12. Larry Morgan, Camaro, 6.686, 206.64; 6. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.653, 206.45  vs. 11. Richie Stevens, Dart, 6.685, 206.16; 7. Rodger Brogdon, Camaro, 6.654, 207.27  vs. 10. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 6.666, 205.85; 8. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.656, 207.30  vs. 9. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.659, 206.35. Did Not Qualify: 17. Alan Prusiensky, 6.771, 203.19; 18. Dave River, 6.835, 202.48.

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Final 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona results, stats

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona overall results were all streaks: two consecutive victories in the endurance classic for Meyer Shank Racing and three in a row for Acura.

And Helio Castroneves became the second driver to win three consecutive Rolex 24s and the first to win in three straight years (Peter Gregg won in 1973, ’75 and ’76; the race wasn’t held in ’74 because of a global oil crisis).

Starting from the pole position, Tom Blomqvist took the checkered flag in the No. 60 ARX-06 that led a race-high 365 of 783 laps with co-drivers Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Colin Braun.

RESULTS: Click here for the finishing order in the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona l By class

Meyer Shank Racing now has two Rolex 24 victories and the 2022 championship since entering the premier prototype category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2021.

“I think what’s so special about this team is we are a small team compared to some of our opponents, but the atmosphere, the way we work, enables people to get the best out of themselves, and I think that’s why we’re such high achievers,” Blomqvist said. “I think there’s no egos. It’s a very open book, and that just enables each and every one of us to reach our potential. I think that’s why we’ve achieved so much success in really a short time at this level of competition.”

It’s the 16th IMSA victory for MSR.

The 61st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona marked the debut of the Grand Touring Prototype category that brought hybrid engine technology to IMSA’s top level.

In other categories:

LMP2: James Allen passed Ben Hanley on the final lap and delivered a victory in the No. 55 ORECA by 0.016 seconds. It’s the second IMSA victory for Proton Competition, which last won at Sebring in 2012. It was the first Rolex 24 victory for Allen and co-drivers Gianmaria Bruni, Fred Poordad and Francesco Pizzi.

GTD Pro: Cooper MacNeil won in the last start of his IMSA career as the No. 79 Mercedes-AMG GT3 scored the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for WeatherTech Racing and the team’s fourth career victory.

MacNeil, who co-drove with Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella, earned his 12th career victory and first at the Rolex 24.

“Winning by last IMSA race is tremendous,” MacNeil said.

GTD: The No. 27 Heart of Racing Team delivered the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for Aston Martin, which has been competing in endurance races at Daytona International Speedway since 1964. Drivers Marco Sorensen, Roman De Angelis, Darren Turner and Ian James (also the team principal) earned the victory in the English brand’s 13th attempt.

It’s also the first Rolex 24 at Daytona win for Heart of Racing, which has seven IMSA wins.

LMP3: Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill drove the No. 17 AWA Duqueine D08 to victory by 12 laps for the team’s first class win in IMSA.


STATS PACKAGE FOR ROLEX 24 HOURS OF DAYTONA:

Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race (over the weekend)

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Lap chart

Leader sequence

Race analysis by lap

Stint analysis

Time cards

Pit stop time cards

Best sector times

Race distance and speed average

Flag analysis

Weather report

NEXT: The 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will resume with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 18 with coverage across NBC, USA and Peacock.