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Tony Schumacher Makes Progress At Final NHRA Mile-High Nationals

Despite making steady progress all weekend, Tony Schumacher’s race day at the final NHRA Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway ended early in the opening round of eliminations. Schumacher’s SCAG Power Equipment Top Fuel dragster made its best run of the event, but it wasn’t quick enough to get the first-round win.
 
Racing at the first of three events on the Western Swing, Schumacher was one of several drivers that struggled to get down the track in Friday’s first qualifying session. Crew chief Mike Neff and the SCAG team improved in each session after that, stepping up from a 3.966-second pass in the second session to a 3.897 E.T. in the final session on Saturday.
 
With a sold-out crowd on hand for the third consecutive day, eliminations kicked off Sunday morning. After qualifying No. 12, Schumacher lined up against Clay Millican for a battle between two of the most experienced drivers in the class. Schumacher laid down his best performance of the weekend, a 3.889 E.T. at 309.13 MPH, but Millican was quicker with a winning 3.840 E.T.
 
“That was heartbreaking,” said Schumacher. “We made a good run. We made it down the track, and in conditions like this, I was excited because it becomes exponentially more difficult up here on the mountain when it’s hot out, making no power and it’s slippery. I thought, ‘Man, I’m going to have a chance here,’ but Clay made a hell of a run and I knew he would. He’s been running real strong right now, so congrats to him.”
 
The final Mile-High Nationals was a sentimental weekend for Schumacher, who made the first steps in his Top Fuel career at the historic Denver area facility in the mid-‘90s. He’s one of the winningest active drivers at Bandimere with three victories, including 2008 when he ‘swept the swing’ by winning all three races on the Western Swing.
 
“I really was hoping, being that I got to make my first hit in a Top Fuel car at this racetrack, that we’d go out and win this one,” Schumacher said. “But we are getting it together. We’re working through the challenges. I have faith in my guys, and I look forward to getting to the next one.”
 
Schumacher and the SCAG Power Equipment Top Fuel team will have another shot at a Western Swing victory in just a few days when the NHRA Camping World Series rolls into the Seattle area for the NHRA Northwest Nationals, July 21-23, at Pacific Raceways, where Schumacher returns as the defending event champion.

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