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NHRA Point Standings
Through Charlotte

Pos. Driver Points

1 Tony Schumacher 2170
2 Spencer Massey 2160
3 Shawn Langdon 2151
4 Antron Brown 2142
5 Doug Kalitta 2105
6 Morgan Lucas 2099
7 Brandon Bernstein 2095
8 Steve Torrence 2093
9 Bob Vandergriff Jr. 2053
10 Dave Grubnic 2043
11 Clay Millican 718
12 Khalid Albalooshi 698
13 Terry McMillen 587
14 Hillary Will 316
15 Cory McClenathan 279
Funny Car
Pos. Driver Points

1 Ron Capps 2230
2 Mike Neff 2157
3 Jack Beckman 2152
4 Robert Hight 2113
5 Cruz Pedregon 2087
6 Johnny Gray 2081
7 Courtney Force 2074
8 John Force 2072
9 Jeff Arend 2064
9 Tim Wilkerson 2064
11 Matt Hagan 885
12 Bob Tasca III 833
13 Alexis De Joria 687
14 Tony Pedregon 524
15 Bob Bode 388
Pro Stock
Pos. Driver Points

1 Allen Johnson 2209
2 Jason Line 2206
3 Vincent Nobile 2138
4 Greg Anderson 2107
5 Mike Edwards 2094
5 Erica Enders 2094
7 Ron Krisher 2063
8 Larry Morgan 2062
9 V. Gaines 2052
10 Jeg Coughlin 2031
11 Shane Gray 684
12 Ronnie Humphrey 625
13 Rodger Brogdon 575
14 Kurt Johnson 544
15 Warren Johnson 491
Pro Stock Motorcycle
Pos. Driver Points

1 Ed Krawiec 2215
2 Andrew Hines 2205
3 Hector Arana Jr 2151
4 Hector Arana 2139
5 Scott Pollacheck 2092
6 Karen Stoffer 2083
7 Paul Ray Jr 2074
8 Shawn Gann 2062
9 Louis Tonglet 2061
10 Matt Smith 2054
Schumacher, Force Hood, Krisher, Treble win in Houston

NHRA
Sunday, March 29, 2009

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Tony Schumacher, Ashley Force Hood, Ron Krisher, and Craig Treble emerged the winners at the record-breaking 22nd annual O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Houston Raceway Park. The event is the fourth on the 24-race 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series schedule.

Favorable weather conditions throughout the weekend led to a slew of career bests and a pair of national records in the Pro Stock classes.

The Pro Stock speed record was toppled three times as Houston Raceway Park fans this weekend witnessed the four fastest speeds in Pro Stock history and five of the 10 fastest, and the longstanding Pro Stock Motorcycle e.t. record also fell.

Tony Schumacher

Teammates Schumacher and Cory McClenathan met in a rematch of their 2005 final here, and this one again was resolved in Schumacher's favor, but it took a holeshot, his second straight in eliminations, to get the job done, 3.881, 314.75 to Cory Mac's quicker-but-later 3.880, 313.66. Schumacher's 57th career win moved him into second place in the points.

"Winning on a holeshot, those are just numbers, man, "Schumacher deflected. "Unless you have a great car that can leave like that, it doesn't mean anything; it takes the whole team. Take that exact same car with different pressure behind the barrel valve, and it wouldn't leave at all. It's a group of guys doing a job and making me look good.

"Everyone knows we don’t have AJ [former championship-winning crew chief Alan Johnson] anymore, and people said we couldn't win without him, so we had to dig deep, and I love 'suck it up' moments – bottom of the ninth, bases loaded – and that's what we had all day."

Schumacher and new-for-'09 crew chief Mike Green marched the U.S. Army car to the final round from the No. 3 spot, defeating Del Cox Jr. (to score his record-tying 30th straight first-round win), Morgan Lucas, and Larry Dixon, who this season is being tuned by Johnson. The first meeting between the two former champs was as good as everyone would expect, with Schumacher scoring a 3.895 to 3.889 holeshot win over Dixon. Schumacher also showcased his driving skills in round two, where he won a backpedaling match with Lucas.

McClenathan, who lost his tuner from last year, Green, to Schumacher, reached his 61st career final round by guiding his new Fram Tough Guard dragster, wrenched by Todd Okuhara and Phil Shuler, to wins over Shawn Langdon, low qualifier Antron Brown (on a 3.90 to 3.88 holeshot), and upset-minded Joe Hartley, who was looking to duplicate his heroics at the 2007 edition of this event, where he was runner-up to J.R. Todd.

Ashley Force Hood

Force Hood, who scored her first win less than a year ago, at the 2008 version of the Atlanta event, earned her second with a strong 4.12, 306.19 to defeat Jack Beckman's 4.22, 303.43 to move to third place in the points.

"Jack taught me how to drive a Super Comp dragster when I was 16 years old, and it's so amazing that 10 years later he and I are both driving nitro cars," said Force Hood, who also has five career wins in the Top Alcohol Dragster class. "I was a little concerned about that right lane because I knew a lot of people were struggling, so I just wanted to get A to B and not making any mistakes. I was sure surprised when I saw that win light come on, and I double-checked about 10 times on the radio to make sure it was my win light.

"Our first win was against my dad [in the final], and we’ve had some people ask me, 'Do you think you dad gave it to you?' and it's heartbreaking because we know my dad would never give away any round-win, so to be able to race against another team's driver in the final and win it where no one can have any doubt, we're maybe a bit more cheerful than after that first win. It's been hanging over our head, and it feels good to get past that."

Third-year pilot Ford Hood powered her Dean Antonelli-tuned Castrol GTX Mustang to her sixth Funny Car final by taking out a trio of class veterans, including her father, John, in the second round. On either side of her dad's tire-smoking, blower-banging loss (which evened their career record against one another to 3-3), Force Hood beat Ron Capps and, in a rematch of last year's final, Del Worsham. Her semifinal 4.173 against Worsham was her first non tire-smoking run of eliminations and cost her lane choice against Beckman.

Beckman, whose most recent win in the Tommy DeLago-tuned Valvoline/MTS Charger came last year at the inaugural event in Charlotte, took out Force Hood's teammate, Robert Hight, in round one, then eked out a .005-second victory against Tim Wilkerson in round two. A solid 4.171 in the semifinals defeated former event champ Tony Pedregon to send Beckman to his 13th career Funny Car final with lane choice.

Ron Krisher

Krisher was dead late out of the box (.116 to .025) in the Pro Stock final, usually a fatal mistake against Jeg Coughlin, but something went amiss for the Jegs Cobalt as it slowed to a 7.05. Krisher collected the win, the eighth of his career, with a 6.587 at a ripping 211 mph to conclude a wild day of Pro Stock action.

"We did real good all day until the last round," admitted Krisher. "I let out the clutch and the car just spun and didn’t go anywhere. We lost about six-hundredths to 60 feet, and my light went right away with it. It was shaking and moving around, but I looked over and Jeggie was in worse shape than me so I decided I was going to stick with it.

"We have a good car, good power, and it's pretty exciting. I think between [engine builder] Mike [Edwards] and I, we are as powerful as anyone in this class right now. We could have won Phoenix too, but we lost the clutch in the third round. We've been capable of running with anyone anywhere."

Coughlin had won 56 Wallys before this event but only one of them had come at this event, way back in 2000, and Krisher made sure it stayed that way. Coughlin had struggled a bit in qualifying and ranked only sixth entering eliminations, but mastered the tricky track conditions to reach the final, the 70th of his Pro Stock career and 88th overall. Coughlin opened with a 6.61 and followed with a pair of 6.59s to trailer David Beckley, Steve Spiess, and Jim Yates. Spiess had pulled off one of the event's big upsets in round one when he beat Greg Anderson on a 6.59 to 6.55 holeshot on a run where Anderson set the national record at 211.99 (backed up by a 211.89 in qualifying) and just missed becoming the first factory hot rod pilot to exceed 212 mph.

That barrier fell two rounds later when Mike Edwards ripped off a 212.03 pass to break Anderson's record (211.76 backup in round two) but, like Anderson, did it in a losing cause. The two-time Houston winner (2002, '06) fell to Krisher's Valvoline Cobalt by a minuscule .0006-second (six ten-thousandths), 6.573 to 6.576, after gaining a slim .021 to .024 advantage at the Tree. Krisher, who earlier had beaten Allen Johnson and No. 1 qualifier Jason Line, came from behind to beat Coughlin for his eighth career Wally.

Craig Treble

Campaigning a 10-year-old bike with a borrowed engine and funded out of his own pocket this season after finishing last season as a rider for Don Schumacher Racing, Treble nonetheless reached his 27th career final and his fourth at this event and scored for the second time here when he beat rookie rider Doug Horne, 6.915, 193.46 to 7.76, 155.60. The win is the 13th of Treble's career and boosted him from ninth to third in the points standings.

"That's a lot of old pipe there – it's Matt Hines old championship chassis from back in the day, but it just keeps going down the track," said Treble of his Suzuki, on which he and his stepbrother, Don Banaski, are the sole crewmembers. "It's a great little motorcycle. I have to take my hat off to Michael Phillips for loaning me an engine; it's an older engine, but we have a great combination for it. Thanks also to Ben Hatcher, who's been calling me between rounds to coach me to make good decisions; so many times when I was tuning my own bike before I had bullet holes in my feet from making bad decisions.

"Running out of my own pocket, originally I had planned on cutting it off after Atlanta, but this buys us some time to try to find some financial backing, probably through Madison."

Treble impressed early at the event by qualifying his Team Scream Suzuki No. 2 with a 6.925, then flexed his muscles with a 6.885 in the first round, which at the time was the fifth quickest pass in Pro Stock Motorcycle history and a career best to defeat Mike Berry. He followed with a 6.91 conquest of last year's runner-up, Matt Guidera, then erased last year's other finalist, Matt Smith, 6.912 to 6.917. A round earlier, Smith's Nitro Fish/DSR Suzuki had recorded the class' quickest pass and reset Angelle Sampey's 6.871 national record (set in Englishtown 2007) with a 6.865, backed up by his first-round 6.893, but lost the crank trigger in the semifinals against Treble.

Former fuel Harley pilot Horne made his Pro Stock Motorcycle debut just two weeks ago in Gainesville, but the 21-year-old rider looked like a veteran as he cut his way through the field on his Buell. He opened with a 6.94 victory against David Hope then induced red-lights from Gatornationals champ Hector Arana and low qualifier Andrew Hines to reach the final round.

"That kid [Horne] did an awesome job; I'm real impressed with him," said Treble. "He's laid-back and has some good equipment, and he's going to be someone to reckon with. He kept his cool and put a .011 [light] on me and didn't rattle. He's got my respect."

Lucas Oil Sportsman titles went to Duane Shields (Top Alcohol Dragster), Steve Harker (Top Alcohol Funny Car), Jacklyn Gebhardt-Still (Comp), Kenny Doughty (Stock), Tommy Phillips (Super Comp), David Jones (Super Gas), and Craig Abbott (Super Street). The Get Screened America Pro Mod title was won by Danny Rowe.

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