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Schumacher, Beckman, Edwards Keep Poles In Topeka

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, May 21 2011

Jack Beckman picked up more momentum at the Summer Nationals in Topeka on Saturday. (Photo courtesy of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor

Topeka, Kan. – The clouds dispersed, the temperatures rose and the speeds came down Saturday at Heartland Park Topeka.

As a result, the third and fourth rounds of qualifying for the NHRA Summer Nationals failed to produce much change in the starting order for Sunday’s eliminations.

Tony Schumacher held onto the top spot in Top Fuel, Jack Beckman did the same in Funny Car and Mike Edwards did the same in Pro Stock.

Schumacher extended his NHRA record for Top Fuel No. 1 qualifiers to 64 .

Schumacher, a seven-time champion, could use a successful Sunday. He is fourth in points, 98 behind leader Del Worsham. He has yet to win this season but is coming off a final appearance at Atlanta last weekend where he lost to Don Schumacher Racing teammate Antron Brown.

Schumacher was asked Saturday if he was getting itchy for his first victory.

“You know what? There are people who have not won a race ever,” he said. “The’ve got the itch. We’ve won races.”

Schumacher said the pole is a good start for his weekend, but it is just that.

“There are a lot of good cars out here. It’s going to come down to who digs most tomorrow,” he said. “It’s going to be hotter.”

Beckman, who’s currently second behind Mike Neff in the Funny Car standings, also set the pace during Friday night’s optimal conditions with track records for both time and speed (4.054 at 313.66) in his Aaron’s Dodge Charger.

Beckman’s pole is his first of the season. His previous best was second at the Gatornationals in the second event of the season.

But, Beckman is coming off his first victory of the season. He can feel, he said, the momentum.

“The best thing about that is you just get such a rhythm going,” Beckman said. “You can tune out. A lot of times these thoughts come into your head. The changing conditions, you got a car that’s not running good, you’re worried about having to pedal, you’re not qualified going into session four. To drive a car like I’m driving right now, none of those thoughts come into my mind.”

Edwards, from nearby Broken Arrow, Okla., earned his third straight No. 1 at Heartland Park Topeka with a Friday night pass of 6.640-second pass at 207.05 mph in his Penhall/Interstate Batteries Pontiac.

Edwards won his third pole of the year and second in a row. Last week in Atlanta, he made it to the semifinals before losing to Greg Anderson, who sits just in front of him in the standings.

“I think we’re going in the right direction,” Edwards said. “But there is a long way to go.”

Sunday’s first-round pairings for professional eliminations for the 23rd annual Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka, the seventh of 22 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.

Top Fuel — 1. Tony Schumacher, 3.798 seconds, 324.12 mph vs. 16. David Grubnic, 7.313, 296.70; 2. Del Worsham, 3.815, 318.62 vs. 15. Steven Chrisman, 6.565, 111.76; 3. Larry Dixon, 3.817, 320.43 vs. 14. Terry Sainty, 4.142, 284.15; 4. Spencer Massey, 3.829, 321.65 vs. 13. Luigi Novelli, 3.946, 298.21; 5. Shawn Langdon, 3.840, 315.49 vs. 12. Terry McMillen, 3.924, 310.41; 6. Doug Kalitta, 3.841, 320.36 vs. 11. Morgan Lucas, 3.908, 308.21; 7. Brandon Bernstein, 3.841, 316.08 vs. 10. Bob Vandergriff, 3.889, 310.13; 8. Cory McClenathan, 3.855, 317.87 vs. 9. Antron Brown, 3.857, 319.22.

Funny Car — 1. Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 4.054, 313.66 vs. 16. Jeff Arend, Toyota Solara, 6.283, 305.42; 2. Johnny Gray, Charger, 4.058, 307.23 vs. 15. Paul Lee, Chevy Impala SS, 4.421, 294.18; 3. Robert Hight, Ford Mustang, 4.067, 312.21 vs. 14. Dale Creasy Jr., Impala SS, 4.411, 276.29; 4. Mike Neff, Mustang, 4.070, 310.98 vs. 13. Tony Pedregon, Impala SS, 4.201, 298.93; 5. Cruz Pedregon, Solara, 4.072, 310.20 vs. 12. Melanie Troxel, Solara, 4.133, 304.74; 6. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.081, 305.36 vs. 11. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.102, 306.95; 7. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.090, 296.83 vs. 10. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.100, 308.64; 8. Jim Head, Solara, 4.093, 306.60 vs. 9. John Force, Mustang, 4.095, 310.41.

Pro Stock — 1. Mike Edwards, Pontiac GXP, 6.640, 207.05 vs. 16. Richard Freeman, GXP, 6.706, 205.13; 2. Jason Line, GXP, 6.648, 206.76 vs. 15. Kurt Johnson, GXP, 6.705, 205.29; 3. Allen Johnson, Dodge Avenger, 6.650, 207.24 vs. 14. Larry Morgan, Ford Mustang, 6.692, 205.91; 4. Rodger Brogdon, GXP, 6.651, 206.67 vs. 13. Warren Johnson, Chevy Cobalt, 6.688, 206.32; 5. Ron Krisher, GXP, 6.658, 206.86 vs. 12. V. Gaines, Avenger, 6.687, 205.69; 6. Ronnie Humphrey, GXP, 6.658, 206.48 vs. 11. Greg Anderson, GXP, 6.687, 205.98; 7. Shane Gray, GXP, 6.674, 206.07 vs. 10. Erica Enders, Cobalt, 6.685, 206.83; 8. Greg Stanfield, GXP, 6.676, 205.76 vs. 9. Vincent Nobile, Avenger, 6.680, 206.42. Did Not Qualify: 17. Jim Yates, 6.733, 204.70; 18. Bob Yonke, 6.744, 203.71; 19. Dave River, 6.996, 198.90; 20. Mark Hogan, 7.159, 201.40; 21. Steve Kalkowski, broke.

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, May 21 2011
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