NHRA Arizona Nationals
Event 2 of 24 (Phoenix)
Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park
Feb. 23-25, 2018
DSR Phoenix Friday Qualifying Highlights:
- Tony Schumacher and Jack Beckman lead qualifying at the NHRA Arizona Nationals
- Tony Schumacher becomes the fastest Top Fuel driver in NHRA history with his 336.57-mph run
- Tony Schumacher resets both ends of the Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park Top Fuel track records:
E.T.: 3.649-seconds Speed: 336.57 MPH
- Tony Schumacher made two of the ‘Top 10’ fastest Top Fuel runs in history (336.57, 334.65)
- Jack Beckman ran ‘top three’ of the session during both qualifying rounds
Tony Schumacher and Jack Beckman Lead Friday Qualifying at the NHRA Arizona Nationals
CHANDLER, Arizona (February 23, 2018) – Tony Schumacher and Jack Beckman claim top honors in the Top Fuel and Funny Car categories during day one of the NHRA Arizona Nationals.
‘The Sarge’ laid down a blazing 3.649-second at 334.65-mph pass powered by Pennzoil in Q1, resetting both ends of the Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park track records. The run not only became the quickest and fastest Top Fuel pass officially recorded at the Chandler, Arizona dragstrip, but also went down in the books as the fastest Top Fuel run in NHRA history.
As Schumacher waited to run in the final Top Fuel pairing of the day, his crew chief Mike ‘Zippy’ Neff watched competitor Clay Millican steal the speed record. Not to be outdone, Zippy turned up the wick and tuned the U.S. Army dragster to another impressive pass. Schumacher crossed the beams in 3.667-secs at 336.57-mph to earn three bonus points and reclaim top speed.
“This track is fast. This track has always shown good numbers. It’s the perfect storm. You have the right conditions; the track was good, it was smooth, they prepped it correctly, all this stuff happened and we have a car with good power,” said Schumacher, who leads the Top Fuel class in No. 1 qualifiers at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park with five previous poles.
“Everything is working right. We came here and we tested, we go to Pomona and run low E.T. every run so we are bringing a tune-up that’s already good. We’re able to fine-tune it with the air. I think the track was mid-70s, to the point where most cars were shaking. There was a 50-50 chance you were going to shake. You were either going to go shake or you were going to give it enough to fast. There’s really no in-between that.”
In Funny Car, Jack Beckman also raced to a hot start in the cold Phoenix temperatures making two bonus point-worthy ‘top three’ runs.
Beckman started his weekend at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park by running a 3.895, the third quickest of Q1. In Friday’s second qualifying session, Beckman clocked a 3.845 at 332.43-mph in his Mopar-powered Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Funny Car, boosting him from third to the provisional No. 1 spot.
“We got one point for being third quickest of the first session which I thought was great, but then to come back and back that up, we actually tied Courtney [Force] for low E.T. and got it on speed. I like the fact that we were able to make back-to-back runs like that,” said Beckman of Terry and Doug Chandler’s Infinite Hero Dodge Charger tuning trio of Dean Antonelli, John Medlen and Neal Strausbaugh.
Content with Friday’s performance, the three-time Phoenix winner is confident in his team’s ability to translate qualifying success into a long Sunday of going rounds.
“When it’s this cold, the track gets so tricky. People always think colder means better, and it is to a point, but then it kind of tips over and the track gets so cold that the window for hitting that good run just gets really small.
“Usually if you have conditions like this you say ‘we won’t race in these conditions.’ Those hero runs on Friday night are kind of a throw away of data for crew chiefs because you won’t see those conditions again, but I think we’re going to see them tomorrow and again on race day. What makes me feel confident is we have great data that we’ll probably be able to use again in the next two days.”
Driver of the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T
Q1: 3.895 E.T. at 328.86 MPH (One bonus point for third quickest run of the session)
Q2: 3.845 E.T. at 332.43 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Provisional Qualifying Position: No. 1
Bonus Points: Four