Tony Schumacher piloted the U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster to the provisional No. 1 spot at the NHRA Virginia Nationals on Friday evening at Virginia Motorsports Park.
A 3.777-second at 327.51-mph Q2 pass took top honors and reset the Top Fuel track speed record. The 2008 Virginia Nationals title holder is seeking his fourth No. 1 qualifier at the North Dinwiddie facility which is playing host to a national NHRA event for the first time since 2009.
Schumacher credits the Virginia Motorsports Park’s ownership team’s race prep efforts for enabling his Army Racing braintrust to make a throw-down run.
“This track is perfect,” said Schumacher, who raced to the top of the Top Fuel Richmond pack in 2006, 2007, and 2008. “The guys that bought (the facility) gave us a beautiful track. It’s literally two smooth lanes of perfect lines. ‘You want to make a great race for fans that pay good money to come to a race? You did a perfect job.’ All of the drivers and teams and crew chiefs are very pleased.”
With fifteen dragsters on the property, the coveted No. 1 spot is more important than ever, as the top seeded driver will have the advantage of a first round bye run on race day.
“This was one of those runs when you look on the entry list of fifteen cars, that No. 1 spot becomes extremely important. Going up there, we were sixth when we started. (Crew chiefs) Mike (Neff) and Phil (Shuler) said ‘we’re going to smoke the tires or we’re going to go No. 1.’ There’s no reason to try and be third or fourth or fifth. Let’s see what this thing can do, and they did a great job and made a great run. We’ve won this race before, it was a long time ago. For all these people to come back out, and the kids that are here that weren’t even born yet the last time we were out, it’s great to go out and make a good run like that for the Army car.”
Schumacher entered the race weekend as the track E.T. record holder, a title he has enjoyed for a decade since running a facility-best 3.771-sec pass during the 2008 event. After posting a 327.51-mph during Friday’s Q2 run, the eight-time world champion now boasts the track record on both ends of the spectrum.
“We’ve got a great team. It’s not just Mike Neff and Phil. I’ve had so many great crew chiefs along the way. It’s been a pleasure ride. We’ve set a lot of records, so it’s awesome.”
Q1: 4.039 E.T. at 245.99 MPH
Q2: 3.777 E.T. at 327.51 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)
- Virginia Motorsports Park Top Fuel speed record
Provisional Qualifying Position: No. 1
Bonus Points: Three
Don Schumacher Racing PR