Date published: May 11, 2012
Elite company: With his first-round victory against Doug Kalitta, seven-time NHRA Top Fuel champ Tony Schumacher became just the fifth driver to record 600 roundwins in NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series competition, joining John Force, Larry Dixon, Warren Johnson, and Kenny Bernstein. Schumacher fell in round two to eventual race winner Morgan Lucas, extending his winless streak to 29 events dating back to the fall 2010 Las Vegas event. Schumacher will have an interesting chance to break two dry spells at the next stop on the schedule, the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway, the only track on the NHRA tour where he has failed to win a race.
Pro Mod: Danny Rowe took over the top spot in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by Pr°Care Rx following his victory. Rowe, of Laguna Hills, Calif., drove his supercharged Sterling Bridge Camaro to a final-round victory over the Summit Racing Equipment Camaro of Canadian Kenny Lang, 5.96 to 6.04. Mike Castellana, the winner of the most recent event at zMAX Dragway, qualified No. 1 in his Al-Anabi Camaro but suffered a rare round-one loss against Steve Matusek. After three of 10 events, Rowe leads the points standings by a point over Castellana. Gainesville winner Rickie Smith is third, 25 points behind Rowe.
Streak ended: Jack Beckman's streak of 87 consecutive qualifying outings ended when he failed to make the Funny Car field. Beckman's streak, which dated back to the 2008 Englishtown event, was the longest among active Funny Car racers; that mantle now falls to John Force, who has a streak of 80 races. Force, who once qualified for 395 consecutive events, has the seventh-longest current streak; Pro Stock's Greg Anderson is the leader with 215 straight.
Moving up: With his victory in Top Alcohol Funny Car, Jay Payne - featured in this issue - collected win No. 41, which ties him with fellow world champs Angelle Sampey and Jeff Taylor at the 21st spot on NHRA's all-time list. Payne also has five exhibition victories in Pro Mod competition at NHRA events, which are not included in official win totals.
Fast times: Despite high heat and humidity, Morgan Lucas posted the eighth-fastest Top Fuel speed in history, a career-best 327.74-mph shot that matched the run made by Spencer Massey at the fall 2011 event in Charlotte. Six of the 10 fastest Top Fuel speeds have been recorded this season.