- Tony Schumacher sets the Top Fuel speed record at 336.57 mph en route to preliminary No. 1 spot
- Jack Beckman leads the Funny Car pack after day one of qualifying at Phoenix
- After not recording a No. 1 qualifier in 2017, Alex Laughlin currently sits atop the category
CHANDLER, AZ – February 23, 2018 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – The 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season continued Friday as Tony Schumacher powered to the Top Fuel qualifying lead at the 34th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.
Jack Beckman (Funny Car) and Alex Laughlin (Pro Stock) are also provisional qualifying leaders in their respective categories at the second of 24 events on the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.
Schumacher led the category with a run of 3.649-seconds at 334.65 mph in his US Army dragster posted during the first qualifying session to initially set the Top Fuel speed record. Clay Millican followed up with a record-breaking speed of 335.23 in his Great Clips/Parts Plus dragster early in the second round of qualifying, which would only hold up for six pairs on this record-setting day.
Schumacher’s success continued in the second round as he reset the Top Fuel national speed record at 336.57 with a time of 3.667 seconds. The three fastest Top Fuel passes in NHRA history were all recorded on Friday at the NHRA Arizona Nationals.
“It’s only Friday in Phoenix and there is a lot of racing left to be done this weekend, but today tells me that we have an awful lot of power in this car,” Schumacher said. “Working with my crew chief Mike Neff this season continues to pay its dividends, and this team has really gelled so far.”
Beckman leads the Funny Car category with a run of 3.845 at 332.43 in his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T recorded during his second pass of the day. He’s chasing the top position in Phoenix after qualifying third at the season-opening Winternationals.
“When it’s this cold the tracks get so tricky, because it can get so cold that the window for hitting a great run closes,” Beckman said. “I like the fact that we were able to make great back-to-back runs like that, especially after we had some trouble with the car in the semifinals in Pomona.”
After earning a win in Pomona to start the season, Matt Hagan currently sits in sixth in the qualifying as defending category world champion Robert Hight is seventh entering Saturday.
In Pro Stock, Laughlin currently holds the top spot after driving to a 6.537 at 209.43 run in his Hot Wheels Car Care Chevrolet Camaro during his second qualifying pass of the day. He is aiming to secure his first No. 1 qualifying position of the season and the second in his career.
“It’s awesome to be able to go to sleep tonight as the current No. 1 qualifier,” Laughlin said. “Obviously anything can change tomorrow, but we ran stellar times during testing and I don’t know if it’s the car or the track but I definitely hope that we are finally connecting the dots.”
Defending Pro Stock world champion Bo Butner is currently qualified ninth, as he looks to continue his 2018 success after earning a victory at the Winternationals in Pomona.
Qualifying continues at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.
CHANDLER, AZ — Friday’s results after the first two of four rounds of qualifying for the 34th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, second of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday’s final eliminations.
Top Fuel — 1. Tony Schumacher, 3.649 seconds, 336.57 mph; 2. Steve Torrence, 3.655, 331.85; 3.
Clay Millican, 3.664, 335.23; 4. Richie Crampton, 3.683, 325.30; 5. Billy Torrence, 3.697, 331.45; 6. Blake Alexander, 3.705, 329.58; 7. Antron Brown, 3.717, 333.66; 8. Mike Salinas, 3.737, 326.32; 9. Terry McMillen, 3.740, 316.45; 10. Leah Pritchett, 3.755, 291.07; 11. Doug Kalitta, 3.786, 321.42; 12. Scott Palmer, 3.788, 326.63; 13. Brittany Force, 4.454, 172.72; 14. Greg Carrillo, 4.553, 176.49; 15. Troy Buff, 4.560, 164.53; 16. Kebin Kinsley, 9.187, 74.21.
Funny Car — 1. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 3.845, 332.43; 2. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.845, 328.70; 3. Jonnie Lindberg, Toyota Camry, 3.866, 317.27; 4. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.879, 328.62; 5. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 3.888, 333.25; 6. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.926, 330.88; 7. Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.927, 329.26; 8. J.R. Todd, Camry, 3.944, 324.20; 9. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 3.971, 316.75; 10. Jeff Diehl, Camry, 4.148, 306.67; 11. Richard Townsend, Camry, 4.244, 235.27; 12. Shawn Langdon, Camry, 4.333, 209.59; 13. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.474, 188.81; 14. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.551, 182.82; 15. John Force, Camaro, 6.745, 96.00; 16. Del Worsham, Camry, 7.374, 93.25.
Not Qualified: 17. Jim Campbell, 7.402, 91.58.
Pro Stock — 1. Alex Laughlin, Chevy Camaro, 6.537, 209.49; 2. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.545, 210.54; 3. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.546, 211.13; 4. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.553, 210.57; 5. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.554, 209.49; 6. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.558, 210.31; 7. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.561, 210.41; 8. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.567, 210.08; 9. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.572, 210.50; 10. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.573, 209.65; 11. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.581, 209.36; 12. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.582, 208.84; 13. Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.591, 209.65; 14. Val Smeland, Camaro, 6.640, 208.65; 15. Steve Graham, Camaro, 6.659, 208.55; 16. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 6.690, 206.83.
Not Qualified: 17. Joey Grose, 6.730, 205.94.
Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 24 national events featuring the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, and E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA. NHRA also offers NHRA Jr. Street program for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. In addition, NHRA owns and operates four racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Gainesville Raceway in Florida; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Source: National Hot Rod Association