NHRA: Doug Kalitta, Tony Schumacher 1-2 in Top Fuel qualifying at Route 66 Nationals
By Tony Baranek firstname.lastname@example.org June 28, 2014 10:04PM
Courtney Force takes her run during third-round Funny Car qualifying Saturday at Route 66 Raceway. She ended the day fifth in the field that will compete in elimination rounds Sunday. | Photo courtesy of Route 66 Raceway
Route 66 Nationals
Sportsman eliminations, 8:30 a.m.
Top Alcohol eliminations, Round 1, 9 a.m.
Nitro eliminations, Round 1, 11 a.m.
Pro Stock eliminations, Round 1, noon
Top Alcohol eliminations, Round 2, 12:15 p.m.
Nitro eliminations, Round 2, 1 p.m.
Pro Stock eliminations, Round 2, 1:30 p.m.
Sportsman eliminations, semifinals, 1:45 p.m.
Top Alcohol eliminations, semifinals, 2:25 p.m.
Nitro eliminations, semifinals, 2:30 p.m.
Pro Stock eliminations, 2:45 p.m.
Sportsman eliminations, finals, 3 p.m.
Top Alcohol eliminations, finals, 3:45 p.m.
Pro Stock eliminations, finals, 3:50 p.m.
Nitro eliminations, finals, 3:55 p.m.
Updated: July 30, 2014 6:56AM
There’s nothing like a good game of “Can you top this?”
Doug Kalitta and Tony Schumacher did it about as well as you can during Saturday’s fourth round of Top Fuel qualifying at the Route 66 Nationals.
Through three rounds Schumacher was fifth and Kalitta third behind Brittany Force and Spencer Massey. With their final runs coming up late, both found something they hadn’t had all weekend.
Schumacher was the first to go, recording a time of 3.775 seconds (325.61 mph) to vault into the No. 1 position.
It didn’t last long.
Kalitta, the division points leader, slid right up behind Schumacher on the next pair to qualify and eclipsed that effort with a 3.767 (327.43 mph).
Neither Force, nor Massey, nor anybody else had anything to top that, leaving Kalitta and Shumacher at 1-2.
It was Kalitta’s fifth No. 1 qualifying effort of the season and the 41st of his career.
“I was sitting back there in the staging lanes and it was pretty exciting (to watch),” Kalitta said. “I think the fans got a good session out of that.”
He was aware of Schumacher’s time.
“Yeah, oh yeah,” Kalitta said. “I was just hoping we could pull it off. That thing left strong and it was pulling good the whole way. When I went through the finish line I thought maybe we had a shot at it.
“It was a close run. There were a bunch of good-running cars out here, and any time you can get around them and get a little qualifier it’s a big deal.”
Antron Brown finished Top Fuel qualifying in third, followed by Force, Steve Torrence and Crampton.
Points leader Robert Hight led the Funny Car qualifying field through three rounds, but saw the top spot taken away by Tommy Johnson, who turned in the fastest run of the weekend with a 3.999-second (317.19).
Del Worsham also improved on his final run to post a 4.023 (315.19 mph), bumping Hight to third. John Force and Courtney Force finished fourth and fifth.
It wasn’t necessarily a fluid flight, according to Johnson.
“I’ve been trying for that three (second run) for a long time,” he said. “They told me to hang on and they were winging for it. It was just a handful. That thing was trucking down through there, bouncing the front end, going left and right and I was driving all the way.
“I knew it was a good run. We had to get it to the finish line.”
Dale Creasy Jr., of Beecher, failed on his final chance to make the Funny Car field when his Monte Carlo bobbled left a short way down the lane and then went up in flames. Creasy was uninjured.
“I don’t know what happened,” Creasy said. “We were just going along. We weren’t going to try to go real fast. We were going to try to make the guys behind us beat us. Unfortunately, something went wrong out there. I’m safe. We’ll look at the race car and see what we can do to fix it.”
Allen Johnson paced the Pro Stock division with a run of 6.574 seconds (209.43 mph), edging division points leader Erica Enders-Stevens (6.594).
Eddie Krawiec was the No. 1 qualifier in the Pro Stock Motorcycle field with a 6.872 (194.86 mph), besting Hector Arana III (6.941).