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Tony Schumacher Leaves Brainerd Looking for More

Three-time Brainerd winner Tony Schumacher made a trio of clean, consistent qualifying passes at the NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway, providing a boost of confidence going into race day. Schumacher’s SCAG Power Equipment Top Fuel dragster ran into a bout of tire smoke in the opening round, though, leading to an early end to Sunday competition for the eight-time NHRA world champion.
 
Schumacher opened qualifying with a 3.828-second pass at 322.34 MPH on Friday afternoon. He improved to a 3.804 E.T. at 327.90 MPH on Saturday, then followed that up with a consistent 3.819 E.T. at 326.08 to end up No. 10 on the final qualifying order.
 
While the SCAG Power Equipment dragster was one of the most consistent cars in qualifying, crew chiefs Mike ‘Zippy’ Neff and Jon ‘LJ’ Schaffer went into eliminations looking to step up. Unfortunately, Schumacher drove into tire smoke early in the run and couldn’t recover in time to catch Leah Pruett in their first-round match.
 
“Well, what can you say other than this was a disappointing Sunday,” said Schumacher, the 2022 Brainerd runner-up. “We have made huge strides and had a good car during qualifying and felt like we were ready to go on race day. We were on a killer run and the car was absolutely hauling butt, but then it rattled a bit and we smoked the tires. Losing first round is never how you want your Sunday to end.”
 
Schumacher remains confident that his JCM Racing team is on the cusp of a performance upswing. To ensure that happens, the team will stay at Brainerd International Raceway to test on Monday after the race.
 
“I’ve had a lot of great races here at Brainerd, and I was dead set on sending a Wally home with Randy (Gloede, President and CEO of SCAG) and everyone at SCAG so they could add another trophy to their display,” Schumacher said. “At the end of the day, I believe in my guys, and I believe in Zippy and LJ. We are testing tomorrow and we have some new parts we’ve added into the motor. I know we are going to come into Indy ready to fight for every round.”
 
After testing, Schumacher and the SCAG Power Equipment team will return to the iconic Indianapolis Raceway Park for the NHRA U.S. Nationals, where Schumacher is the winningest NHRA Camping World Series driver with 10 victories.

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