News: Provisional Pole Winner: Morgan Lucas
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Scott Turner
FONTANA, Calif. — U.S. Army NHRA Racing Top Fuel pilots Tony “The Sarge” Schumacher and Antron Brown both posted solid runs here Friday, Feb. 10, during the second day of qualifying for the O’Reilly Auto Parts Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway.
Battling a track temperature that soared to more than 100 degrees, Schumacher still cranked out a 3.837-second pass at 321.42 mph and held on to second in the order behind provisional pole sitter Morgan Lucas.
“Given how hot it got here today, we laid down a real good run,” said Schumacher, a seven-time world champion. “In fact, we were a little quicker than yesterday. I’ve been stating this since we left Palm Beach International Raceway a few weeks ago – we have a great racecar. We’re more than ready to start winning races again.”
After finishing second and fifth in the standings, respectively, the last two seasons Schumacher is hungry for a return to world championship contention.
“When you get used to being at the top, you definitely want to stay there,” said Schumacher. “We got knocked off the mountain the last two years, so now it’s time to make the climb back up. Wining here in Pomona this weekend would be a terrific step in the right direction.”
After failing to get down the track on Thursday, Feb. 9, Schumacher’s U.S. Army Racing teammate Antron Brown turned the tables on day two with a 3.882-second trip at 311.70 mph. In the process, he advanced from 16th to ninth.
“Despite not making a full pull, we were able to get some good data which we applied today,” said Brown, a New Jersey native. “We needed a clean pass so we could come out tomorrow and turn it up even more.”
Cooler temperatures are expected for the Pomona area the next two days which should translate into quicker times and faster speeds.
“I’m sure all of the Top Fuel tuners will be licking their chops on Saturday and Sunday,” said Brown. “As we all know, cooler temps produce more horsepower. We’ll have to tighten our belts for sure.”
Two final Top Fuel qualifying sessions are scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 18, at 11:30 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. PST.