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Keeping Pace


 (The Spokesman-Review)
(The Spokesman-Review)

Tony Schumacher crossed the finish line in 3.857 seconds at 310.91 mph in his U.S. Army dragster to edge Doug Kalitta, whose Kalitta Motorsports dragster trailed at 3.879 at 303.43. It was Schumacher’s third victory at the legendary Tennessee drag strip and the 59th of his career.

Courtesy: NHRA Media Relations

BRISTOL, Tenn. Tony Schumacher raced to his third victory of the season Sunday at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.

Del Worsham and Mike Edwards also were winners at the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event.

Schumacher crossed the finish line in 3.857 seconds at 310.91 mph in his U.S. Army dragster to edge Doug Kalitta, whose Kalitta Motorsports dragster trailed at 3.879 at 303.43. It was Schumacher’s third victory at the legendary Tennessee drag strip and the 59th of his career.

In earlier rounds, Schumacher beat Terry Haddock, Morgan Lucas and Brandon Bernstein. With the victory the six-time NHRA Full Throttle Series world champ moved back into the series lead.

"To be back in the points lead is outstanding," said Schumacher, who now leads Antron Brown by 45 points. "We started this year with everyone telling us we'd probably never win another race. To be sitting here now with three wins in the first eight races is very satisfying, I'm not gonna lie. Our team is working so well right now. I don't think there's a guy on this team that would rather be somewhere else. It's a group that wants to get up in the morning and go racing."

In Funny Car, Worsham claimed his second consecutive victory and 24th of his career, powering his Al-Anabi Racing Toyota Solara past Tony Pedregon’s special-themed Jimmie Johnson Foundation Chevy Impala in the final. Worsham posted the quickest run of the weekend in the category to get the win, a 4.075-second blast at 304.67 mph, while Pedregon finished in 4.152 at 293.22.

"Aaron Brooks and Alan Johnson, that was their win," said Worsham of his crew chief and team owner. "In the semifinals [the engine] blew up on us, it kicked the rods out, and we kind of coasted across with a 4.12. But we went back and put a new engine in it, and when we came to the final Aaron and A.J. told me the run was going to be at least a 4.08. A 4.07 was pretty close."

Worsham defeated Jeff Arend, Cruz Pedregon and Tim Wilkerson to advance to the final.

"I saw both sides of a team come together today, the Top Fuel and the Funny Car guys, to put this car back together and basically change every part on it for the final round," Worsham said. "That shows you what kind of team this is; they all work together. Aaron Brooks leading this team, it’s basically his first full season working as a crew chief and he’s really stepped it up. This whole team has, and I just can’t say enough about all of them."

Worsham closed the gap with series leader Ron Capps, who lost in the second round. He now trails the NAPA Dodge driver by 57 points.

Edwards claimed his second win of the season and 17th of his career in Pro Stock, beating final round opponent Greg Anderson with a track record time of 6.633 at 207.72 in his ART Pontiac GXP. Anderson’s Summit Racing GXP trailed Edwards with a performance of 6.658 at 207.94.

"We just ran so good," Edwards said. "Every run it just seemed like we got a little bit better, and I can’t believe we ran this good every run. Eight runs, and we were the fastest car every run down the track. I don’t know if people really know how hard it is in this class to win one of these races. I respect Greg Anderson and Jason Line, Warren and Kurt Johnson, and everybody. They’re the guys you want to try to beat because they’ve been up there so long. To beat those guys, I just never dreamed I could be this competitive in this class, and to run like this is just an awesome feeling."

Edwards, who was the No. 1 qualifier, zoomed past David Beckley in the first round, used a perfect reaction time (.000) to beat Kurt Johnson in the second round and had another stellar reaction of .010 against Jason Line in the semis to move to the final round.

"I have a wonderful team," Edwards said. "These guys, they work so hard. We have just tested and tested and tested, and it’s paying off for us. My guys just work endless hours. Boy it feels good to do this. I’ve always wanted to win this race. There is a lot of tradition around here with that big old circle track over there. You get chills just being around here, so this feels good."

Edwards remained in third place in the Pro Stock points order, 102 behind leader Jeg Coughlin and 46 behind second place Line.

The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series continues May 29-31 with the O’Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka in Kansas.

* * *

BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Final finish order (1-16) for professional categories at the Ninth annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway. The race is the eighth of 24 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.


1. Tony Schumacher; 2. Doug Kalitta; 3. Brandon Bernstein; 4. Shawn Langdon; 5. Larry Dixon; 6. Antron Brown; 7. Morgan Lucas; 8. Cory McClenathan; 9. Doug Herbert; 10. Troy Buff; 11. Michael Gunderson; 12. Terry Haddock; 13. Joe Hartley; 14. Clay Millican; 15. Pat Dakin; 16. Dom Lagana.


1. Del Worsham, Toyota Solara; 2. Tony Pedregon; 3. Tim Wilkerson; 4. Ashley Force Hood; 5. Cruz Pedregon; 6. Jack Beckman; 7. Ron Capps; 8. Jim Head; 9. Bob Tasca III; 10.  Jeff Arend; 11. Mike Neff; 12. Bob Bode; 13. Andy Kelley; 14. Jerry Toliver; 15. John Force; 16. Matt Hagan.


1. Mike Edwards, Pontiac GXP; 2. Greg Anderson; 3. Jason Line; 4. Jeg Coughlin; 5. Johnny Gray; 6. Kurt Johnson; 7. Ron Krisher; 8. Allen Johnson; 9. Greg Stanfield; 10. Rodger Brogdon; 11. Larry Morgan; 12. Warren Johnson; 13. Justin Humphreys; 14. David Beckley; 15. Rickie Jones; 16. Ronnie Humphrey.



BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Sunday's final results from the Ninth annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway. The race is the eighth of 24 in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series:

Top Fuel -- Tony Schumacher, 3.857 seconds, 310.91 mph def. Doug Kalitta, 3.879 seconds, 303.43 mph.

Funny Car -- Del Worsham, Toyota Solara, 4.075, 304.67 def. Tony Pedregon, Chevy Impala, 4.152, 293.22.

Pro Stock -- Mike Edwards, Pontiac GXP, 6.633, 207.72 def. Greg Anderson, GXP, 6.658, 207.94.

Super Stock -- Norm Hall, Chevy Cavalier, 9.938, 112.81 def. Jeff Taylor, Chevy Cobalt, foul.

Super Comp -- Mike Robilotto, Dragster, 8.924, 162.29 def. Scott Albrecht, Dragster, 8.926, 168.62.

Stock Eliminator -- Edmond Richardson, Chevy Camaro, 10.897, 119.32 def. Robbie Shaw, Pontiac Firebird, 10.375, 121.62.

Super Gas -- Tom Stalba, Chevy Corvette, 9.881, 157.67 def. Billy Upton, Corvette, 9.865, 153.13.



BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Final round-by-round results from the Ninth annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway, the eighth of 24 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series:



ROUND ONE -- Doug Kalitta, 3.889, 309.49 def. Doug Herbert, 3.889, 310.84; Antron Brown, 3.838, 319.75 def. Troy Buff, 3.902, 295.98; Morgan Lucas, 3.839, 312.28 def. Clay Millican, 6.778, 87.35; Shawn Langdon, 3.990, 305.42 def. Dom Lagana, broke; Larry Dixon, 4.329, 269.56 def. Pat Dakin, 8.310, 82.27; Brandon Bernstein, 3.980, 298.93 def. Joe Hartley, 6.243, 100.97; Cory McClenathan, 3.886, 286.01 def. Michael Gunderson, 3.990, no speed; Tony Schumacher, 3.880, 303.30 def. Terry Haddock, 4.034, 275.28;

QUARTERFINALS -- Langdon, 3.887, 291.45 def. Dixon, 3.835, 310.13; Kalitta, 3.900, 305.36 def. McClenathan, 3.956, 261.32; Schumacher, 3.876, 308.43 def. Lucas, foul; Bernstein, 3.862, 304.25 def. Brown, 3.873, 315.86;

SEMIFINALS -- Kalitta, 3.865, 305.01 def. Langdon, 7.320, 85.00; Schumacher, 3.836, 314.61 def. Bernstein, 3.884, 313.29;

FINAL -- Schumacher, 3.857, 310.91 def. Kalitta, 3.879, 303.43.




ROUND ONE -- Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.165, 291.57 def. Jerry Toliver, Chevy Monte Carlo, 7.289, 87.10; Del Worsham, Toyota Solara, 4.378, 254.57 def. Jeff Arend, Solara, 5.321, 179.04; Ashley Force Hood, Mustang, 4.361, 236.59 def. Andy Kelley, Dodge Stratus, 7.047, 98.95; Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 4.217, 251.16 def. Bob Bode, Chevy Impala SS, 6.594, 102.15; Cruz Pedregon, Solara, 5.149, 205.44 def. Mike Neff, Mustang, 5.501, 183.59; Tony Pedregon, Impala, 4.195, 296.89 def. Matt Hagan, Charger, broke; Jack Beckman, Charger, 5.138, 180.84 def. John Force, Mustang, DQ; Jim Head, Solara, 4.732, 244.16 def. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.964, 242.32;

QUARTERFINALS -- Wilkerson, 4.187, 295.27 def. Beckman, 4.233, 297.48; T. Pedregon, 4.143, 300.26 def. Capps, 4.503, 262.90; Force Hood, 4.171, 298.73 def. Head, 6.216, 106.35; Worsham, 4.105, 298.27 def. C. Pedregon, 4.170, 296.57;

SEMIFINALS -- T. Pedregon, 4.119, 302.28 def. Force Hood, 4.130, 304.94; Worsham, 4.121, 286.44 def. Wilkerson, 4.127, 301.60;

FINAL -- Worsham, 4.075, 304.67 def. T. Pedregon, 4.152, 293.22.




ROUND ONE -- Kurt Johnson, Chevy Cobalt, 6.675, 206.26 def. Rodger Brogdon, Pontiac GXP, 6.699, 206.80; Ron Krisher, Cobalt, 6.758, 202.03 def. Warren Johnson, GXP, 6.711, 206.95; Allen Johnson, Dodge Stratus, 6.689, 206.70 def. Larry Morgan, Stratus, 6.707, 206.04; Jason Line, GXP, 6.674,

206.89 def. Rickie Jones, Stratus, 6.719, 205.76; Johnny Gray, Stratus, 6.682, 206.13 def. Greg Stanfield, GXP, 6.664, 206.73; Mike Edwards, GXP, 6.647, 207.24 def. David Beckley, Stratus, 6.715, 206.01; Greg Anderson, GXP, 6.655, 207.50 def. Justin Humphreys, GXP, 6.714, 205.69; Jeg Coughlin, Cobalt, 6.672, 207.30 def. Ronnie Humphrey, Stratus, 6.720, 205.98;

QUARTERFINALS -- Line, 6.658, 206.89 def. Gray, 6.675, 206.54; Coughlin, 6.663, 207.40 def. Krisher, foul; Anderson, 6.648, 207.78 def. A. Johnson, 6.735, 206.95; Edwards, 6.639, 207.40 def. K. Johnson, 6.685, 206.64;

SEMIFINALS -- Anderson, 6.661, 207.50 def. Coughlin, 6.941, 166.60; Edwards, 6.643, 207.34 def. Line, foul;

FINAL -- Edwards, 6.633, 207.72 def. Anderson, 6.658, 207.94.




BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Point standings (top 10) for NHRA professional categories following the Ninth annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway, the eighth of 24 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series -


Top Fuel

1. Tony Schumacher, 659; 2. Antron Brown, 614; 3. Brandon Bernstein, 594; 4. Cory McClenathan, 511; 5. Morgan Lucas, 489; 6. Larry Dixon, 457; 7. Shawn Langdon, 449; 8. Doug Kalitta, 412; 9. Spencer Massey, 373; 10. Joe Hartley, 333.

Funny Car

1. Ron Capps, 616; 2. Del Worsham, 559; 3. Tony Pedregon, 528; 4. Ashley Force Hood, 505; 5. Jack Beckman, 479; 6. Matt Hagan, 448; 7. Tim Wilkerson, 426; 8. Bob Tasca III, 408; 9. John Force, 396; 10. Cruz Pedregon, 386.

Pro Stock

1. Jeg Coughlin, 714; 2. Jason Line, 662; 3. Mike Edwards, 616; 4. Greg Anderson, 574; 5. Allen Johnson, 435; 6. Greg Stanfield, 429; 7. Ron Krisher, 398; 8. Kurt Johnson, 390; 9. Rickie Jones, 336; 10. (tie) Johnny Gray, 295. Larry Morgan, 295.

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Keeping Pace

Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.