NHRA Round Two Round Up From Arizona

 Tony Schumacher won a wild tire-smoking final round against Morgan Lucas last Sunday to claim the Top Fuel victory at the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Firebird International Raceway……


Ron Capps (Funny Car) and Erica Enders-Stevens (Pro Stock) also were winners at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event near Phoenix.

Schumacher raced to his 70th career victory and fourth at FIR when he was able to get his 8,000-horsepower U.S. Army dragster under control and finish just in front of Lucas’ charging GEICO/Lucas Oil dragster. Both dragsters lost traction early in the side-by-side race and both drivers were on and off the throttle as they navigated the dragstrip.

“When you can win ugly like that it is so much fun,” said Schumacher, who beat Sidnei Frigo, Khalid alBalooshi and Antron Brown in earlier rounds. “Both cars were set up to run really fast and we both lost it and smoked the tires. It was lift, pedal, lift, pedal all the way down. I could hear Morgan beside me the whole time. As a driver that kind of race is so much fun and I enjoy winning like that more than a record run.”

It was the fourth consecutive final round appearance for Schumacher dating back to last season and he moves into the series points lead with the victory.

Tony Schumacher notched career Top Fuel win #70

Tony Schumacher notched career Top Fuel win #70

“Four finals in a row, it’s unbelievable that our team is that good,” Schumacher said. “Win number 70. I like that number. I was stuck on 69 for a long time.”

In Funny Car, Capps earned his 39th career victory and third at this event, outrunning Matt Hagan in the final round. Capps powered his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger to a 4.064 at 314.90 to finish in front of Hagan’s Mopar/Rocky Footwear Charger, which trailed with a 4.158 at 300.33.

Capps reeled off a series of quick runs in the mid 4.0 second range in early round wins over Tony and Cruz Pedregon and Tim Wilkerson. His machine was just as quick in the final round over Hagan.

“This new car really likes to be planted early, and so [crew chief] Rahn Tobler has been working on a new clutch package,” Capps said. “In (the final qualifying session) yesterday, we finally found out what it really liked. And when you give Tobler a new combination, he’s going to ‘bracket car’ it to death.”

Ron Capps assumed the FC points lead with his win at Firebird Raceway

Ron Capps assumed the FC points lead with his win at Firebird Raceway

With the victory Capps moves into the series points lead. With back-to-back final rounds to open the season, Capps says his NAPA team is picking up right where it left off last season.

“We are starting to feel like we are getting into the same rhythm that we were last year when we went to six finals in a row,” Capps said. “I think that both Rahn and I built up some confidence in each other [with our runner-up] at Pomona, and now here.”

Enders-Stevens outran top qualifier Mike Edwards in the Pro Stock final round to earn her fifth career victory. She used a quicker reaction time in her GK Racing Chevy Cobalt to take the win from Edwards in his Interstate Batteries / I Am Second Chevy Camaro. Enders-Stevens finished in 6.538 at 211.99, just in front of Edwards’ quicker but losing performance of 6.520 at 213.74.

“Coming off the season we had last year, and starting the way that we did this year, it was a kind of a gut check in that we wonder if we can ever get it done again,” Enders-Stevens said. “Our guys really worked their butts off during the winter, but we didn’t get the chance to test a lot. And I was a little bit nervous coming into this year because the other big teams got to test a lot. But our guys proved that they can pick up where they left off, and I’m excited.”

Enders, who moved to second in the points standings with the win, defeated Shane Gray, V. Gaines and Jason Line in the first three rounds and won from the No. 7 qualifying position.

Erica Enders-Stevens was impressive again while winning in Pro Stock

Erica Enders-Stevens was impressive again while winning in Pro Stock

“My crew chief, Dave Connolly, reminded me that every time that Jimmie Johnson wins, we win,” Enders-Stevens said with a smile. “And he told me that Jimmie won today’s Daytona 500 prior to the final. So needless to say, we’re going to be cheering for Jimmie all year.”

Following Courtney Force’s Funny Car win at Pomona, Calif. last weekend, this is the first time in NHRA history that two female drivers have won races in back-to-back events to open a season.

Event Essentials:  29th NHRA Arizona Nationals – Chandler AZ (Feb. 22-24th, 2013)

TOP FUEL Name ET MPH Career Win
Winner: Tony Schumacher 4.606 213.20 70th
R/UP: Morgan Lucas 4.652 258.67  
Low ET: Doug Kalitta 3.733    
Top Speed: Tony Schumacher   329.91  
Bump Spot:   3.874    
FUNNY CAR       Career Win
Winner: Ron Capps 4.064 314.90 39th
R/UP: Matt Hagan 4.158 300.33  
Low ET: Johnny Gray 4.034    
Top Speed: John Force   316.82  
Bump Spot:   4.321    
PRO STOCK       Career Win
Winner: Erica Enders-Stevens 6.538 211.99 5th
R/UP: Mike Edwards 6.520 213.74  
Low ET: Mike Edwards 6.498    
Top Speed: Mike Edwards   213.77  
Bump Spot:   6.638    
LUCAS OIL        
Sportsman Winners:        
Super Stock Harry Doolittle 12.06 109.67  
Stock Zack Torres 11.62 110.88  
Super Comp Jack DeRencin 8.905 164.47  
Super Gas Brad Pierce 9.899 141.34  
Super Street Kevin Kleineweber 11.00 143.26  
Top Sportsman JR Lobner 7.457 184.22  
Top Dragster Chuck Hawk 6.914 197.16  

Local Sportsman Racers Shine

Three Arizona racers took home the hardware from the NHRA Arizona Nationals and the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series this past weekend at Firebird International Raceway.  Phoenix resident Kevin Kleineweber won in Super Street, Harry Doolittle, Wickenburg, Ariz., took the win in Super Stock, and Chuck Hawk, Tucson, Ariz., was victorious in Top Dragster.

Kleineweber knocked out fellow Phoenix racer Ryan Giacone in his Hughes Performance sponsored ’94 Lumina in 11.001 seconds at 143.26 mph while Doolittle held off Mike Graham, Tempe, Ariz.  Hawk over powered Moe Trujillo with a lap of 197 mph in 6.914 seconds in his ’11 dragster.

Zack Torres and JR Lobner turned their trips to Phoenix into wins with Torres coming from El Paso, Texas, to beat Matthew Hawk (Chuck’s son) in the Stock Final for Torres’ first NHRA national event win of his career.  Lobner, Gardner, Kan., got the starting line advantage over Ted Carli, Temecula, Calif., to take his first win at the national level as well.

Brad Pierce won in Super Gas with his cool '58 Corvette

Brad Pierce won in Super Gas with his cool ’58 Corvette

Brad Pierce and Jack DeRencin rounded out the winners taking the Super Gas and Super Comp titles respectively.  The win is Pierce’s fifth national in six final rounds as he took the hole-shot to beat Russ Ginger.  DeRencin, Buena Park, Calif., was near perfect running 8.905 on the 8.90 index to take out Jim Berry.

Results posted by:  NHRA Communications

Photos by:  Bruce Biegler

To view DragRaceCanada’s Holley Photo Gallery from this event click:  HERE