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Tony Schumacher Ready To Move On To Topeka After Early Exit At Sonoma

Tony Schumacher and the SCAG Power Equipment Top Fuel team bounced back from qualifying struggles by making their best pass of the weekend in the opening round of the NHRA Sonoma Nationals. The 3.748-second effort wasn’t enough to get past Josh Hart’s holeshot advantage, though, leaving the eight-time world champion looking ahead to Topeka.
 
Schumacher was one of numerous nitro drivers that struggled to get down the track on Friday, and his challenges continued on Saturday in the third session. The JCM Racing brain trust then put together a conservative pass for the final session, allowing Schumacher to lay down a 3.833 E.T. to qualify No. 11.
 
The SCAG Power Equipment dragster had a huge performance jump in the first round of eliminations, recording a weekend-best 3.748-second pass at 330.39 MPH. Unfortunately, opponent Josh Hart cut the quickest reaction time of the session and ran quick enough to hold off Schumacher’s better pass to beat him on a holeshot.
 
“That was a rough one,” said Schumacher, a two-time Sonoma winner. “The car made a great, great move. Honestly, for what we got in qualifying and being able to run down that right lane twice [after oildowns in that lane], we didn’t get the runs we needed. (Co-crew chiefs) Mike Neff, Phil Shuler, and Jon Schaffer made an excellent move, made it a great race, and I was late. That one’s on me. It falls on me and I take the blame for it. It’s just the way racing goes. It was a long tree. When I wanted to go, the tree wasn’t on, and when the tree came on, I wasn’t ready to go. Game over. We’ll head to Topeka, but at least we’ll go in there with a good, good solid run.”
 
Schumacher’s SCAG Power Equipment team will return to the JCM Racing shop in Brownsburg, Indiana, to refresh and restock after the Western Swing. They’ll prepare for the next NHRA Camping World Series race, the Menards NHRA Nationals presented by PetArmor, Aug. 11-13, which is billed as the final NHRA national event at Heartland Motorsports Park in Topeka, Kansas.

This story was originally published on July 31, 2023. Drag Illustrated

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