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Sarge Marches To Championship

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Sunday, November 15 2009
Tony Schumacher pops his chute at Pomona and coasts to his sixth straight Top Fuel championship. (Photo courtesy of the NHRA)

Tony Schumacher pops his chute at Pomona and coasts to his sixth-straight Top Fuel championship. (Photo courtesy of the NHRA)

RacinToday.com

Tony Schumacher won his sixth-straight NHRA Top Fuel championship Sunday as a result of a mistake by the driver who started the day just a single point behind him in the standings.

The championship became all Schumacher’s after Larry Dixon smoked his tires during the semifinal round of eliminations against Spencer Massey at the Auto Club of Southern California Finals in Pomona, Calif.

Also winning a championship Sunday was Hector Arana in Pro Stock Motorcycles. The championship was Arana’s first.

Schumacher and Arana joined Robert Hight in Funny Car and Mike Edwards in Pro Stock as champs – Hight and Edwards secured their crowns earlier in the weekend.

“This trophy will go to Fort Hood. I don’t think there’s any question in the world where it belongs,” said Schumacher, alluding to the recent shootings at the Texas Army base. “We’ll present it to the family, the friends, everyone at that base.”

Schumacher won his first Top Fuel championship in 1999. He added a second title in 2004 and has continued to carry the No. 1 every season since. That string will continue into next year after he outlasted Dixon in another nail-biter (in 2006, Schumacher won the championship by winning the final round and setting the national record at the season finale, and in 2007, Schumacher won it by winning the final round in Pomona).

Schumacher entered the Auto Club NHRA Finals just one point ahead of Dixon, and the two put on quite a show throughout the weekend, swapping the lead several times.

Schumacher added one point to his lead on the opening day of action, but Dixon rebounded on day two and jumped to the front by two markers. Schumacher made a comeback on the final qualifying day, running low e.t. of the weekend, 3.771, to grab three bonus points for the session and the No. 1 spot on the ladder. Those points lifted Schumacher back into the lead by two. Those two points were the deciding factor when both lost in the semi’s.

Arana,  his first, on the final Sunday of the 2009 season, clinching when Eddie Krawiec failed to secure a national record backup in the semis.

“It feels good,” said Arana, who steered the Lucas Oil Buell to five wins this season. “It hasn’t really hit me yet. I do feel better, lighter now that the stress is over and the worries. It’s an awesome feeling to have this accomplishment this year. This is awesome.”

The race-winners at the season-ending event were Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Mike Neff (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

In Top Fuel, Brown (3.801 at 316.90) and the Matco Tools team won for the Top Fuel-best sixth time this season over Massey, who fouled out.

“This year was a career year, we went a lot of rounds, got a lot of points, we’ve just got to figure out this Countdown,” said Brown, who defeated Schumacher in the semifinals just moments after his championship was secure.

In Funny Car, Neff pedaled the Ford Drive One Mustang to a 5.131 at 285.05 to defeat teammate Ashley Force Hood, who was DQ’d for touching the wall. It was Neff’s first career win.

“It was hit and miss and mostly miss (Sunday). We ran good when we needed to (in the quarterfinal win over John Force),” Neff said. “I’ve got a great team, they’ve given me a great race car and that’s the difference.”

Force Hood and the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang team finished the season in second place, a steady rise from her 10th place finish as a rookie in 2007 and sixth place finish as a second-year driver in 2008.

Each of the stock finals were decided by a red-light as Greg Anderson (6.564 at 210.70) defeated Kurt Johnson in Pro Stock and Eddie Krawiec (6.905 at 194.32) defeated Doug Horne in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Anderson won for the third time this season in his Summit Racing Pontiac – including a semifinal win over Edwards – and he secured his fourth straight second place finish in the standings.

“We came in here with basically no pressure, we couldn’t win the championship, and that’s obviously what my mind needs,” Anderson said. “I struggle to find that fun spot in my mind; I’ve got to find a way to get this old mind to stop wandering and have fun. Today was fun and boom, here we are (with a win).”

Final finish order (1-16) for professional categories at the 45th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. The race is the final of 24 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.

TOP FUEL:

1. Antron Brown; 2. Spencer Massey; 3. Tony Schumacher; 4. Larry Dixon; 5. Cory McClenathan; 6. Doug Kalitta; 7. Brandon Bernstein; 8. Morgan Lucas; 9. Chris Karamesines; 10. Steve Torrence; 11. Mike Strasburg; 12. Scott Palmer; 13. Del Cox Jr; 14. Urs Erbacher; 15. David Grubnic; 16. Bob Vandergriff.

FUNNY CAR:

1. Mike Neff, Ford Mustang; 2. Ashley Force Hood; 3. Ron Capps; 4. Tim Wilkerson; 5. Matt Hagan; 6. John Force; 7. Robert Hight; 8. Del Worsham; 9. Jack Beckman; 10. Gary Densham; 11. Bob Tasca III; 12. Bob Bode; 13. Tony Pedregon; 14. Cruz Pedregon; 15. Jerry Toliver; 16. Jim Head.

PRO STOCK:

1. Greg Anderson, Pontiac GXP; 2. Kurt Johnson; 3. Jason Line; 4. Mike Edwards; 5. Rodger Brogdon; 6. Ron Krisher; 7. Greg Stanfield; 8. Allen Johnson; 9. Ryan Ondrejko; 10. Dave Northrop; 11. Jeg Coughlin; 12. Johnny Gray; 13. Rickie Jones; 14. Ronnie Humphrey; 15. Vinnie Deceglie; 16. Larry Morgan.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE:

1. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson; 2. Douglas Horne; 3. Andrew Hines; 4. Junior Pippin; 5. David Hope; 6. Larry Cook; 7. Jim Underdahl; 8. Hector Arana; 9. Karen Stoffer; 10. Steve Johnson; 11. Craig Treble; 12. Freddie Camarena; 13. Bailey Whitaker; 14. Shawn Gann; 15. Matt Smith; 16. Michael Phillips.

Sunday’s final results from the 45th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. The race is the final of 24 in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series:

Top Fuel — Antron Brown, 3.801 seconds, 316.90 mph def. Spencer Massey, foul.

Funny Car — Mike Neff, Ford Mustang, 5.131, 285.05 def. Ashley Force Hood, Mustang, DQ.

Pro Stock — Greg Anderson, Pontiac GXP, 6.564, 210.70 def. Kurt Johnson, Chevy Cobalt, foul.

Pro Stock Motorcycle — Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.905, 194.32 def. Douglas Horne, Buell, foul.

POMONA, Calif. — Final round-by-round results from the 45th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, the final of 24 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series:

TOP FUEL:

ROUND ONE — Morgan Lucas, 3.880, 309.06 def. David Grubnic, 9.163, 79.91; Cory McClenathan, 4.437, 178.00 def. Bob Vandergriff, 9.329, 80.90; Brandon Bernstein, 3.873, 314.61 def. Chris Karamesines, 3.955, 308.28; Antron Brown, 3.824, 317.19 def. Urs Erbacher, 8.865, 84.62; Spencer Massey, 3.870,

312.13 def. Scott Palmer, foul; Tony Schumacher, 3.838, 314.17 def. Mike Strasburg, 5.085, 140.31; Larry Dixon, 3.822, 316.23 def. Del Cox Jr, 5.380, 124.84; Doug Kalitta, 3.846, 316.52 def. Steve Torrence, 4.047, 307.30;

QUARTERFINALS — Massey, 3.841, 316.01 def. Kalitta, 3.896, 311.63; Schumacher, 3.836, 318.54 def. Lucas, 4.312, 257.68; Brown, 3.856, 314.90 def. Bernstein, 3.903, 309.77; Dixon, 3.842, 315.42 def. McClenathan, 3.829, 320.51;

SEMIFINALS — Massey, 3.810, 316.67 def. Dixon, 5.025, 143.38; Brown, 3.822, 316.67 def. Schumacher, 3.830, 315.49;

FINAL — Brown, 3.801, 316.90 def. Massey, foul.

FUNNY CAR:

ROUND ONE — Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.126, 300.86 def. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 4.145, 306.46; Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.139, 304.05 def. Tony Pedregon, Chevy Impala, 4.478, 208.20; Ashley Force Hood, Mustang, 4.240, 289.94 def. Bob Bode, Chevy Impala SS, 4.468, 219.29; Robert Hight, Mustang, 4.842, 196.64 def. Jerry Toliver, Impala, 5.195, 154.35; John Force, Mustang, 4.149, 307.37 def. Gary Densham, Impala, 4.162, 297.88; Ron Capps, Charger, 4.312, 236.67 def. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.382, 254.90; Mike Neff, Mustang, 4.184, 296.31 def. Jim Head, Toyota Solara, 8.478, 78.55; Del Worsham, Solara, 4.595, 189.90 def. Cruz Pedregon, Solara, 4.774, 269.83;

QUARTERFINALS — Wilkerson, 4.116, 303.71 def. Hight, 4.368, 214.86; Force Hood, 4.146, 306.60 def. Worsham, 4.373, 238.43; Capps, 4.144, 310.48 def. Hagan, 4.126, 305.22; Neff, 4.121, 306.40 def. Force, 4.138, 306.19;

SEMIFINALS — Force Hood, 4.133, 307.09 def. Capps, 4.775, 248.25; Neff, 4.197, 291.32 def. Wilkerson, 5.440, 147.39;

FINAL — Neff, 5.131, 285.05 def. Force Hood, DQ.

PRO STOCK:

ROUND ONE — Rodger Brogdon, Pontiac GXP, 6.599, 209.49 def. Ronnie Humphrey, GXP, 7.715, 132.67; Kurt Johnson, Chevy Cobalt, 6.642, 209.49 def. Johnny Gray, Dodge Stratus, 6.912, 206.39; Allen Johnson, Stratus, 6.648, 207.18 def. Vinnie Deceglie, Stratus, 7.817, 128.19; Greg Stanfield, GXP, 6.616, 209.59 def. Ryan Ondrejko, GXP, 6.627, 208.52; Greg Anderson, GXP, 6.580, 210.73 def. Dave Northrop, GXP, 6.660, 209.20; Mike Edwards, GXP, 6.587, 210.34 def. Larry Morgan, Stratus, foul; Ron Krisher, Cobalt, 6.600, 210.18 def. Rickie Jones, Stratus, 7.170, 142.34; Jason Line, GXP, 6.562, 210.77 def. Jeg Coughlin, Cobalt, 6.687, 208.97;

QUARTERFINALS — K. Johnson, 6.617, 209.56 def. Krisher, 6.781, 209.14; Edwards, 6.579, 210.67 def. Brogdon, 6.642, 209.14; Anderson, 6.575, 210.50 def. Stanfield, foul; Line, 6.571, 210.77 def. A. Johnson, 14.950, 57.49;

SEMIFINALS — Anderson, 6.576, 210.70 def. Edwards, 6.669, 196.27; K. Johnson, 6.624, 209.56 def. Line, 6.555, 211.36;

FINAL — Anderson, 6.564, 210.70 def. K. Johnson, foul.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE:

ROUND ONE — Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.977, 192.82 def. Michael Phillips, Suzuki, 10.043, 82.37; Larry Cook, Buell, 6.962, 188.91 def. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, foul; David Hope, Buell, 6.986, 187.70 def. Craig Treble, Suzuki, 7.023, 190.78; Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 7.059, 191.29 def. Matt Smith, Suzuki, 7.413, 147.29; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.950, 194.91 def. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.977, 191.19; Douglas Horne, Buell, 6.995, 191.70 def. Freddie Camarena, Suzuki, 7.026, 192.06; Hector Arana, Buell, 6.910, 192.00 def. Bailey Whitaker, Buell, 7.091, 185.59; Junior Pippin, Buell, 7.133, 187.76 def. Shawn Gann, Buell, 7.318, 185.97;

QUARTERFINALS — Horne, 6.993, 191.35 def. Hope, 7.028, 187.70; Pippin, 7.201, 185.69 def. Cook, foul; Krawiec, 6.959, 192.60 def. Underdahl, 7.107, 188.89; Hines, 7.044, 192.69 def. Arana, foul;

SEMIFINALS — Horne, 6.940, 192.55 def. Pippin, 7.045, 187.34; Krawiec, 6.953, 192.80 def. Hines, foul;

FINAL — Krawiec, 6.905, 194.32 def. Horne, foul.

Point standings (top 10) for NHRA professional categories following the 45th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, the final of 24 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series -

Top Fuel

1. Tony Schumacher, 2,571; 2. Larry Dixon, 2,569; 3. Antron Brown, 2,522; 4. Cory McClenathan, 2,490; 5. Brandon Bernstein, 2,438; 6. Spencer Massey, 2,437; 7. Morgan Lucas, 2,353; 8. Doug Kalitta, 2,325; 9. Shawn Langdon, 2,299; 10. Clay Millican, 2,093.

Funny Car

1. Robert Hight, 2,547; 2. Ashley Force Hood, 2,481; 3. Ron Capps, 2,433; 4. Tim Wilkerson, 2,430; 5. Jack Beckman, 2,406; 6. Tony Pedregon, 2,403; 7. Del Worsham, 2,352; 8. Bob Tasca III, 2,326; 9. John Force, 2,268; 10. Mike Neff, 2,235.

Pro Stock

1. Mike Edwards, 2,682; 2. Greg Anderson, 2,572; 3. Jason Line, 2,486; 4. Greg Stanfield, 2,403; 5. Jeg Coughlin, 2,375; 6. Ron Krisher, 2,363; 7. Allen Johnson, 2,334; 8. Kurt Johnson, 2,307; 9. Johnny Gray, 2,300; 10. Rickie Jones, 2,142.

Pro Stock Motorcycle

1. Hector Arana, 2,590; 2. Eddie Krawiec, 2,588; 3. Andrew Hines, 2,446; 4. Matt Smith, 2,369; 5. Douglas Horne, 2,362; 6. Michael Phillips, 2,321; 7. Karen Stoffer, 2,249; 8. Shawn Gann, 2,248; 9. Craig Treble, 2,202; 10. Matt Guidera, 2,020.

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Sunday, November 15 2009
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