Tony Schumacher Advances to Quarterfinals at Richmond

Photo Credit NHRA

Tony Schumacher was looking to keep his winning ways going aboard the Waltrip Brewing Co./Leatherwood Distillery Top Fuel dragster on Sunday at the PlayNHRA Virginia Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park near Richmond. Fresh off a win from the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals two weeks prior, the JCM Racing team felt they had a proven combination for the challenging conditions facing the teams at the North Dinwiddie facility, but dropped cylinders during the quarterfinals on race day prevented Schumacher from going two-for-two behind the wheel of his new co-branded paint scheme.

Schumacher qualified 13th for the two-day event, which saw teams battle extreme heat during Saturday’s three qualifying runs. While they would have preferred a more favorable starting position to begin race day, the team was undeterred as they had won from 12th in Bristol, Tennessee, and powered to a runner-up finish from the 14th seed in Epping, New Hampshire the weekend before that. Seeking his third consecutive final-round appearance and fourth overall in 2024, Schumacher’s race day started with a first-round battle versus No. 4 qualifier Shawn Reed. The eight-time world champ turned on the win light when he took his machine to the finish line in 4.095 seconds to defeat Reed’s 4.490-second effort. In the quarterfinals, Schumacher faced his former teammate Antron Brown in their first head-to-head meeting this season. The Waltrip Brewing Co./Leatherwood Distillery machine moved first but starting mixing up cylinders as it approached the 330-foot mark, causing Schumacher to slow while Brown made a clean pass in the opposite lane to advance.

“Had a really great feeling about today, and quite honestly, I have a great feeling about our team in general,” said Schumacher, who was hoping to deliver JCM’s 10th national event win on Sunday. “When it’s hot and ugly, it plays in our hands. I enjoy driving when everything is a little more uncomfortable, but we just hadn’t gotten down the track this weekend. We haven’t found that hot, hot run tune-up. And, the way you can win some of those is when other people tend to fall off at that point but, Antron just made a heck of a run so it’s unfortunate, but whoever wins this race is truly going to earn it. The conditions this weekend were difficult for the crew chiefs, difficult for the drivers, and difficult for the fans. But, our Waltrip Brewing Co./Leatherwood team, we’re feeling good overall.

“I’m going straight from here to Norwalk,” added Schumacher. “I’m not even going home, I’m just going to pretend like this is one continuous race. We’re going to go to Ohio and we’re going to celebrate at a wonderful race track, America’s race track, right in the middle of the country. Looking forward to seeing all of the fans out there.”

Schumacher will enter the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals ranked sixth in the Mission Foods Top Fuel point standings. Qualifying for the Norwalk, Ohio event begins at 6 p.m. ET on Friday, June 28.

Qualified: No. 13 (4.261 E.T. at 206.83 mph)

Elimination Round Results:
E1: 4.095 E.T. at 246.66 mph defeated Shawn Reed 4.490 E.T. at 221.34 mph
E2: 4.284 E.T. at 212.93 mph defeated by Antron Brown 3.923 E.T. at 316.38 mph

NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series Top Fuel Point Standings (Unofficial):

1Doug Kalitta 751
2Shawn Langdon 684
3Justin Ashley 643
4Steve Torrence 575
5Antron Brown 542
6Tony Schumacher 522
7Billy Torrence 477
8Clay Millican 461
9Tony Stewart 458
10Brittany Force 425

ABM Communications PR

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