Schumacher Ends TF Drought!

Seven-time NHRA Top Fuel world champ Tony Schumacher ended a frustrating 32-race winless streak with his win at the Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals presented by Tri-Cities Area Ford Dealers at Bristol Dragway…..

His DSR teammate Ron Capps (Funny Car) and Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) also claimed victories at the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event.

Schumacher’s U.S. Army dragster ran like a bracket car all during Sunday’s eliminations, with his slowest pass coming in the final round against long-time on track rival, Doug Kalitta. Schumacher did his job on the starting line, as his reaction time was four-hundredths better than Kalitta’s, leading to Schumacher’s slower, but winning E.T., 3.819-second pass at 324.28 mph.

As incredible as it may seem -- Tony Schumacher won for the first time in 32 Top Fuel races...

“That’s one of those finals that you dream about,” Schumacher said. “Nobody wants that single in the final, as much as I’ve been joking about it. You want to go out and run Doug, and you want to go out and run your team [car] and win on those very close ones. It makes the whole weekend worth it.”

Schumacher earned his first win in almost two seasons the hard way, taking out Dom Lagana in round one, DSR teammate Spencer Massey in round two and local-favorite Clay Millican in the semifinal round to earn his fifth final round appearance of the season. Schumacher’s win is his 68th career win and fifth at Bristol Dragway and it secures him the sixth spot in the Traxxas Shootout, the Top Fuel bonus race at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals.

“I’ll tell you what it was a long time, a long, long time,” Schumacher said. “You get used to winning those races — you know, 15 races in a year — you know we’re just not used to that. We had a great car, and more often than not, we got beat by some incredibly talented teams in very close races, so it was tough for us to deal with but at the same time, it is what we do I’m just very thankful that Mike [Green, crew chief] and Neal [Strausbaugh, assistant crew chief] and all nine guys did a phenomenal job.”

Capps Still Hot

In Funny Car, Capps earned his second win of the season in his sixth final round appearance in a row since adding veteran turner Rahn Tobler to the team by outrunning rookie driver Alexis DeJoria in the first final round appearance of her career. Capps’ 4.076 at 312.35 mph in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger was just too much for DeJoria, whose Tequila Patron Toyota Camry lost traction at half-track.

Ron Capps' amazing season turnaround continued -- he won again at Bristol last weekend

“There was a lot of pressure coming in because of the media and fans kept asking for six finals and, ‘Are you going to get in a sixth final?’ Every race that we’ve gone to, it’s just getting stronger and stronger, the bond that I have with Rahn Tobler and this team,” Capps said. “Don Schumacher does everything to give us everything that we need, and it’s impressive that Rahn Tobler is able to do what he does with a car. He’s such a perfectionist.”

Capps had to beat two women during Sunday’s eliminations, as he beat both top rookie contenders DeJoria and Courtney Force. Capps also took out Tony Pedregon and his DSR teammate Johnny Gray en route to his win at Bristol Dragway. With the win, Capps tied “Big Daddy” Don Garlits on the all-time wins list with 35 victories.

Dead Heat Pro Stock Finale!

Veteran Pro Stock driver and former world champion Mike Edwards claimed his fourth victory in a row at Bristol Dragway with his holeshot win over local favorite Allen Johnson in the final round. Edwards used his better reaction time with his 6.674 second pass at 206.16 mph behind the wheel of his Penhall/Interstate Batteries Pontiac to beat Johnson’s Team Mopar Dodge Avenger, which clocked a quicker but losing 6.661 second pass at 207.05 mph in an incredibly close final round.

Mike Edwards won in Pro Stock at Bristol for the 4th straight year.

“I don’t even know how you can describe something like [the final] in words,” Edwards said. “Four zeros for the margin of victory. I just can’t believe it. Sometimes we struggle just a little bit, and then we come to this place [Bristol] and we do well. Sixteen straight round wins is unbelievable. I tell you, I wish we raced them all here. My guys did an awesome job this weekend. We weren’t the fastest car, just the second fastest car, but we got the job done.” 

“Hats off to Allen Johnson,” Edwards said. “They did an awesome job too, especially in front of their home crowd. It had to be hard for him to lose a race like that I can’t explain it, but we just run exceptionally good here. I wanted to win this race four in a row so bad that I came here right after Englishtown and tested for two days, and I’ve never done that at a track where we have our next race. I wanted it bad, real bad.”

Allen Johnson nearly ran the table at Bristol -- qualifying low and setting both top speed and low ET before losing the final by an amazing close margin.

Edwards raced to his second win of the season by beating Larry Morgan, four-time world champ Jeg Coughlin Jr. and the most successful female in Pro Stock, Erica Enders, before reaching his second final round of the season.

The next NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event is the O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals presented by Super Start Batteries, June 28-July 1 at Route 66 Raceway inJoliet,Ill.

Event Essentials – Ford Thunder Valley Nationals (June 15-17th, 2012) Bristol TN  

TOP FUEL Name ET MPH Career Win
Winner: Tony Schumacher 3.819 324.28 68th
R/UP: Doug Kalitta 3.802 NSR  
Low ET: Shawn Langdon 3.796    
Top Speed: Spencer Massey   324.98  
Bump Spot:   4.045    
FUNNY CAR Name ET MPH Career Win
Winner: Ron Capps 4.076 312.35 35th
R/UP: Alexis DeJoria 5.232 144.15  
Low ET: Ron Capps 4.060    
Top Speed: Jack Beckman   313.66  
Bump Spot:   4.188    
PRO STOCK Name ET MPH Career Win
Winner: Mike Edwards 6.674 206.16 34th
R/UP: Allen Johnson 6.661 207.05  
Low ET: Allen Johnson 6.623    
Top Speed: Allen Johnson   207.78  
Bump Spot:   6.746    
Nitro Harley Exhibition Name ET MPH Career Win
Winner: Tommy Grimes 6.347 219.44  
R/UP: Doug Horne 6.320 227.92  
Low ET: Doug Horne 6.263    
Top Speed: Doug Horne   227.92  
Bump Spot:   6.958    
Winner: Rickie Smith 6.055 241.24  
R/UP: Donald Walsh 7.395 171.99  
Low ET: Rickie Smith 5.888    
Top Speed: Donald Walsh   251.58  
Bump Spot:   6.455    
LUCAS OIL        
Sportsman Winners: Name ET MPH  
Top Dragster Steven Furr 7.196 184.83  
Super Stock Peter Biondo 9.753 129.18  
Stock Russell Johnson 11.18 117.23  
Super Comp Tyler Caheely 8.894 182.38  
Super Gas Emily Lewis 9.890 166.72  


Rickie Smith Rebound 

Veteran Rickie Smith earned a very emotional and gratifying NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by ProCare Rx victory during the Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals presented by Tri-Cities Area Ford Dealers at Bristol Dragway.

Rickie Smith wheeled his ultra cool electronic and nitrous-injected '12 Camaro to victory in the Pro Care RX Pro Mod program

Last season at Bristol Dragway Smith suffered a spectacular crash that caused him to take a hiatus from the sport due to a knee injury but the veteran driver came back toBristolwith on a mission, claiming the No.1 qualifying position and earning his second win of the season.  Smith and his nitrous-injected IDG-sponsored Camaro ran a 6.055 second pass at 241.24 mph beat Donald Walsh’s 7.393 second pass at 171.99 mph in the final round of eliminations.

Smith also beat veteran driver Jay Payne in the semifinals, Mike Knowles in the quarterfinals and Doug Winters in the opening round of eliminations.

With Smith’s win, it moves him into second place in the championship point standings.

Walsh’s runner-up was his best finish yet within the NHRA Pro Mod series and came driving a turbocharged Ford Mustang.   Walsh set top speed of the event at 251.58 mph driving that machine.

Biondo Scores 45th National Event Win

Sportsman class racing at Bristol was highlighted by Peter Biondo who raced to his 45th NHRA National event win.  That came during the Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway to go along with his six NHRA Lucas Oil National Championships and his 13 divisional championships.

Prolific NHRA Sportsman racer Peter Biondo won at the national event level for the 45th time last weekend.

The Maspeth, N.Y., racer worked his way through the Super Stock field to face off with Bobby Dennis, Shorter, Ala., in the final.  Dennis had a near perfect reaction time of .001 seconds but Biondo ran him down with a 9.753 second pass at 129.18 mph for the win.

Russell Johnson, Sharpsburg, Ga., scored the win in Stock Eliminator posting a run of 11.183, 117.23 in his ’67 Fairlane over Anthony Bertozzi, Ashland, Virg., who left early with a red-light foul start.

Edmond Richardson was denied his 47th national event win when he met up with Tyler Caheely in the final of Super Comp.  Caheely, Rock Spring, Ga., drove his ’02 dragster to a pass of 8.894 seconds at 182.38 mph winning on a double breakout to Richardson’s 8.893 at 170.97.

The Super Gas title went to Emily Lewis also of Maspeth, N.Y., while Steven Furr took the win in Top Dragster.  Lewis went 9.890 seconds in her ’67 Corvette to defeat Marvin Benoit, Alvaton, Ky., for her first ever NHRA national event win.  The win was Furr’s fourth national and first in Top Dragster as he ousted Marco Abruzzi running 7.196, 184.83 mph.

Posted by:  NHRA Communications

All photos by:  Bruce Biegler

To view DragRaceCanada’s Bristol event photo gallery click:  HERE