After tragedy, Schumacher win SuperNationals
Five-time POWERade Series world champion Tony Schumacher raced to his first win at Englishtown in 12 years of competition at the Lucas Oil NHRA SuperNationals.
The event was overshadowed by the loss of Funny Car driver Scott Kalitta, who died from multiple injuries suffered after his car went out of control in the fourth round of qualifying Saturday.
Tim Wilkerson, Greg Anderson, and Chip Ellis also won in their respective categories in the 11th of 24 events on the POWERade Series schedule.
Schumacher drove his U.S. Army dragster to a 4.589-second run at 325.06 to defeat runner-up Brandon Bernstein by half a car length to pick up his 46th win and pull within six of Joe Amato (52) for most Top Fuel wins all-time.
"With the passing of Scott Kalitta yesterday, today's race was extremely tough to get through from an emotional standpoint. But we managed to take care of business like Scott would have wanted us to," said Schumacher, who won from the No. 9 qualifying position.
In Funny Car, Wilkerson drove his Levi Ray & Shoup Chevy Impala SS to a 4.877 at 319.29 to defeat Rookie of the Year favorite Mike Neff, who was seeking his first career win in his third career final round.
"You come to the race track and you think there is always a chance of something happening," said Wilkerson. "Knowing Scott the way I knew Scott I think that he would've wanted us to come and race because he was just that kind of guy. With that in mind, we all came to the racetrack with the intention of winning."
Greg Anderson drove his Summit Racing Pontiac GXP to his third win of the season, posting a time of 7.520 at 200.23, which proved strong enough to get past runner-up Dave Connolly. It is Anderson's 54th career win, fourth in Englishtown and second consecutive at Raceway Park.
"It was a tough deal to come out and race today, without a doubt," said Anderson. "I don't really know how you really do it, how you really concentrate and we probably didn't very well, to be honest with you. You think about (Scott) all the time and you think, 'I know I'm going to wake up from this dream in a while.'"
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Chip Ellis was able to ride his Schumacher Racing Suzuki past No. 1 qualifier Chris Rivas to pick up his sixth career win and first with Don Schumacher Racing. Ellis ran a 7.040 at 187.21, which was enough to give him the win light after Rivas red-light at the start.
"To be perfectly honest it was awesome," said Ellis, referring to his win against his former team and crew chief. "I know what George Smith (Chris Rivas' crew chief) is capable of doing. I rode his bike all last year and he's a great tuner and Chris is doing a great job riding for him. But, on the other hand, I think I'm with the best tuner, and the man I'm talking about is Steve Tartaglia." NHRA