Schumacher A Winner Again

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, August 3 2022

Tony Schumacher collected the Top Fuel hardware in Washington over the weekend.

NHRA’s traditional three-race Western Swing ended with a bona fide blast from the past.

Eight-time Top Fuel world champion Tony Schumacher scored his first win since 2020 on Sunday, powering to his 86th career victory during the 33rd annual Flav-R-Pac NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways. The event closed-out the summertime Swing, as NHRA returned to the facility in Kent, Wash., near Seattle, for the first time since 2019 due to COVID-19 pandemic protocols.

Schumacher held off point-leader Brittany Force in the final, covering the 1,000-foot distance in 3.977-seconds at 251.34 mph in his Okuma dragster. It was Schumacher’s fifth victory in the Seattle market _ and first at Pacific Raceways since 2008. In addition, Tony posted the inaugural win for Joe and Cathi Maynard, who became majority team co-owners last week.

Historically, Schumacher’s 86th career win surpassed Pro Stock icon Bob Glidden for fourth-most in NHRA history. Schumacher defeated Scott Palmer, 2013 world champion Shawn Langdon and Justin Ashley in a wild pedal-fest to reach the final, where he outlasted Force to tie five-time world champ Joe Amato for most Top Fuel wins at Pacific Raceways.

“This was a fantastic weekend, and talk about perfect timing,” said Schumacher, the son of NHRA pioneer Don Schumacher. “Joe and Cathi Maynard, along with their partners Eric and Kim Lehman, buy the team with my dad and here we go out and qualify third, which is our best qualifying performance by far all year. We’ve been struggling. We were having a tough time this year, a lot of awful luck. But we dug deep, worked hard and made some big changes and it paid off.”

Robert Hight (Funny Car) and Troy Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock) also won at the 13th of 22 races during the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season.

Schumacher returned to full-time competition this season with backing from Don Schumacher Racing. The Maynards now have assumed a majority ownership stake in the team. Established earlier this year, the Maynard Family Racing organization (JCM) is a single-car NHRA Top Fuel team co-owned by Joe and Cathi Maynard, along with partners Eric and Kim Lehman, all of Clarksville, Tenn.

The Maynards became involved in NHRA Championship Drag Racing in 2021 as an associate partner of DSR, which extended its overall win count to 367 via Tony’s victory.

Joe Maynard reiterated his intention to preserve and build upon DSR’s drag racing legacy with “The Sarge,” Tony’s moniker when his dragster was sponsored by the U.S. Army.

“Cathi and I are so passionate about this sport. The first drag race Cathi ever saw was Tony Schumacher driving past her at 330-miles-per-hour,” Maynard said in the track’s media center. “She has been hooked ever since. That was 15 years ago. So, fast-forward to 2020, we contacted Don Schumacher to get started with the team and Don gave Cathi and me an opportunity to live-out a dream.

“Tony has been our favorite driver for a long time. We love drag racing, we have that Maynard family spirit and that’s why we’re here.”

Wheeling the DSR Performance-powered Okuma dragster, Schumacher earned the No. 3 qualifying position _ his highest-seeded start in 2022. On Sunday, Schumacher battled tricky track conditions to reach his 155th final against Force, the 2016 world champ from John Force Racing. Schumacher’s starting line advantage worked to his favor as his engine began dropping cylinders early into the run while Force’s entry fought traction issues in the opposite lane.

Schumacher’s most recent victory prior to Sunday occurred during the 2020 national event at Houston Raceway Park in Baytown, Texas. Schumacher did not compete during the 2021 season. Buoyed by Sunday’s win, Schumacher is determined to break into the top-10 in points before conclusion of the famed U.S. Nationals, final event of NHRA’s “regular season.” The top-10 in each professional category is eligible to compete in the Countdown to the Championship Playoffs.

“Coming into this race, we found ourselves 12th in points, 100 points out of the top-10,” said Schumacher, a 52-year-old resident of Austin, Texas. “You get down to where there’s four races left before the Playoffs start and you’ve got to perform.” Schumacher, whose car is tuned by veteran crew chief Todd Okuhara, moved to 11th Sunday and is within 10 points _ one round of racing (worth 20 points) _ of Clay Millican in 10th.

“We went out and got that first-round win and we were excited, and you look at that ladder and you’ve got Justin Ashley, Langdon, Brittany, and it’s like, ‘What, are you kidding me?’^” Schumacher said. “This was not an easy one by any means. These guys are all great; they’re excellent on the starting line and they all had lane-choice. So, to be able to go out and have a race day like we had, it’s just exciting.

Force advanced to her fifth final round this season and 33rd in her career with wins against Jim Maroney, Josh Hart and Leah Pruett. Brit also set the track speed record on Sunday with a run of 332.43 mph and stretched her championship lead to 71 points over fellow-Californian Mike Salinas.

Robert Hight wrapped up a near-perfect Western Swing with another spectacular performance, delivering a 1,000-foot pass in 3.975-seconds at 319.98 mph in his Chevrolet Camaro SS to defeat J.R. Todd in the Funny Car final.

The class point-leader, Hight celebrated his sixth win this season, 59th in his career and a solid finish to a Western Swing that included two victories and a semifinal appearance. Hight made the quickest run in each round of eliminations as he defeated two-time/reigning world champ Ron Capps, Alexis DeJoria, and 16-time champion/team-owner John Force to reach the final. Hight led wire-to-wire against Todd en route to his second career victory at Pacific Raceways.

“We weren’t the best car in qualifying, so we had to be on our game today,” said Hight, a 52-year-old resident of Yorba Linda, Calif. “We had low E.T. every round and that’s big. We’ve been good when the conditions were good, so I’m proud of what these guys did in the heat.

“It’s amazing to have six wins at this point in the season. I love it here in Seattle and it was great to be back, and we capitalized when we needed to. Everyone is pulling in the same direction on all of our teams and as a driver, that gives you a lot of confidence. We’re very hopeful we can keep this going but we just have to continue to stay focused and keep working toward our goal.”

Todd, the 2018 world champ, advanced to his first final of the season by knocking off Blake Alexander and No. 1 qualifier Bob Tasca III to compete in his 41st career final appearance. Hight’s point lead now stands at 228 over fellow three-time world champ Matt Hagan of Tony Stewart Racing.

In Pro Stock, Troy Coughlin Jr. introduced himself in a major way, posting his first career win as a professional and adding to his family’s stellar NHRA legacy. Troy covered the quarter-mile in 6.638-seconds at 208.68 mph in his JEGS.com/Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro SS in the final to defeat teammate and point-leader Erica Enders.

Coughlin trailered Fernando Cuadra, rookie Camrie Caruso and five-time/reigning world champion Greg Anderson _ who qualified No. 1 _ to reach the final. Coughlin and Enders each logged solid reaction times before Troy chased Erica down during his fourth career final round.

“All the credit in the world goes to this entire team and everyone at Elite Motorsports,” said Coughlin, a 31-year-old resident of Delaware, Ohio. “To have that many good runs in the heat is extremely difficult and impressive to do. What an honor to win today. The car is phenomenal and a blast to drive, and I’m the luckiest kid in the pits. When the morale is up the car just starts to work. This team is gaining momentum and I’m excited to get to Topeka.”

Troy Jr.’s father earned three victories in the “Factory Hot Rod” class, as well as 12 in Pro Mod. Uncle Jeg Coughlin Jr. is a five-time Pro Stock world champ.

Enders, a four-time world champion, maintained her dominance in the class, advancing to her eighth final in 2022 and the 69th in her career. She beat Chris McGaha, area native Dallas Glenn and teammate Aaron Stanfield to reach the championship round, extending her point lead to 103 over Stanfield.

The series will return to action Aug. 12-14 with the 33rd annual Menards NHRA Nationals presented by PetArmor at Heartland Motorsports Park in Topeka, Kan.

Final finishing order (1-16) at the 33rd annual Flav-R-Pac NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways in Kent, Wash. The race was the 13th of 22 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series:

Top Fuel _ 1. Tony Schumacher; 2. Brittany Force; 3. Leah Pruett; 4. Justin Ashley; 5. Shawn Langdon; 6. Doug Kalitta; 7. Josh Hart; 8. Steve Torrence; 9. Clay Millican; 10. Antron Brown; 11. Austin Prock; 12. Alex Laughlin; 13. Jim Maroney; 14. Scott Palmer; 15. Ron Smith; 16. Mike Salinas.

Funny Car _ 1. Robert Hight; 2. J.R. Todd; 3. John Force; 4. Tim Wilkerson; 5. Alexis DeJoria; 6. Bob Tasca III; 7. Blake Alexander; 8. Jim Campbell; 9. Cruz Pedregon; 10. Matt Hagan; 11. Ron Capps; 12. Gary Densham. 

Pro Stock _ 1. Troy Coughlin Jr.; 2. Erica Enders; 3. Aaron Stanfield; 4. Greg Anderson; 5. Dallas Glenn; 6. Camrie Caruso; 7. Kyle Koretsky; 8. Fernando Cuadra Jr.; 9. Cristian Cuadra; 10. Mason McGaha; 11. Matt Hartford; 12. Fernando Cuadra; 13. Deric Kramer; 14. Chris McGaha; 15. Bo Butner.

Final Pro and Sportsman results from the Flav-R-Pac NHRA Northwest Nationals:

Top Fuel _Tony Schumacher, 3.977-seconds, 251.34 mph def. Brittany Force, 5.145-seconds, 153.14 mph.

Funny Car _ Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.975, 319.98 def. J.R. Todd, Toyota Supra, 3.978, 324.75.

Pro Stock _Troy Coughlin Jr., Chevy Camaro, 6.638, 208.68 def. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.644, 209.17.

Top Alcohol Dragster _ Jackie Fricke, 5.668, 242.58 def. Kim Parker, 8.270, 139.04.

Top Alcohol Funny Car _ Jake Guadagnolo, Chevy Camaro, 5.565, 262.23 def. Brian Hough, Camaro, 5.567, 264.08.

Competition Eliminator _ Ryan Priddy, Chevy Camaro, 7.107, 148.01 def. Bruce Schmiedl, Bantam Roadster, Foul/Red Light.

Super Stock _ Rod Stults, Olds Ciera, 10.969, 103.15 def. Kyle Rizzoli, Chevy Camaro, 10.154, 137.04.

Stock Eliminator _ Jody Lang, Chevy Malibu Wagon, 12.317, 92.33 def. Ryan McClanahan, Chevy Camaro, Foul/Red Light.

Super Comp _ Dylan Hough, Dragster, 8.914, 180.02 def. James Glenn, Dragster, 8.935, 161.23.

Super Gas _ Randy Sides, Chevy Camaro, 9.923, 173.07 def. Rodney Lee, Chevy Corvette, Foul/Red Light.

Super Street _ Tony Hopkins, Chevy, 10.910, 147.15 def. David Wakefield, Chevy Chevelle, Foul/Red Light.

Top Sportsman presented by Vortech Superchargers _ Shawn Herbst, Pontiac Firebird, 7.129, 166.60 def. Joe Mellof, Pontiac GXP, Foul/Red Light. 

Top Dragster presented by Vortech Superchargers _Thomas Bayer, Dragster, 6.254, 224.73 def. Clinton Geise, Dragster, 6.670, 195.31.

Junior Dragster Shootout _ Daniel O’Connor, 7.889, 81.02 def. Cole Dickhoff, Foul/Red Light.

Final round-by-round results from the Flav-R-Pac NHRA Northwest Nationals:


ROUND ONE _ Josh Hart, 3.759, 325.61 def. Clay Millican, 3.792, 323.04; Leah Pruett, 3.781, 325.69 def. Antron Brown, 3.796, 320.81; Brittany Force, 3.742, 332.43 def. Jim Maroney, 4.148, 226.51; Tony Schumacher, 3.852, 294.75 def. Scott Palmer, 5.857, 110.73; Steve Torrence, 3.794, 324.36 def. Ron Smith, Broke; Doug Kalitta, 3.837, 322.11 def. Alex Laughlin, 3.856, 315.34; Shawn Langdon, 3.796, 321.73 def. Mike Salinas, Broke; Justin Ashley, 3.782, 325.30 def. Austin Prock, 3.796, 326.32; 

QUARTERFINALS _ Schumacher, 3.827, 313.66 def. Langdon, 3.797, 304.32; Force, 3.791, 327.59 def. Hart, 3.924, 291.07; Pruett, 3.818, 322.42 def. Kalitta, 3.827, 316.67; Ashley, 3.785, 322.42 def. Torrence, 6.333, 95.40;

SEMIFINALS _ Force, 3.823, 325.61 def. Pruett, 6.295, 107.05; Schumacher, 4.485, 258.37 def. Ashley, Foul/Centerline; 

FINAL _ Schumacher, 3.977, 251.34 def. Force, 5.145, 153.14.


ROUND ONE _ Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 3.939, 323.66 def. Gary Densham, Mustang, 5.110, 140.11; Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Supra, 3.964, 320.74 def. Jim Campbell, Dodge Charger, 4.045, 313.00; John Force, Chevy Camaro, 4.277, 277.66 def. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.633, 186.00; Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.459, 214.83 def. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 4.622, 181.64; Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.914, 323.35 def. Ron Capps, Supra, 4.674, 184.60; J.R. Todd, Supra, 3.955, 325.14 def. Blake Alexander, Mustang, 3.990, 312.21; 

QUARTERFINALS _ Force, 3.965, 323.97 def. Wilkerson, 4.462, 201.43; Todd, 3.980, 323.35 def. Tasca III, 7.751, 105.74; Hight, 3.960, 320.89 def. DeJoria, 5.142, 145.41; 

SEMIFINALS _Todd, 3.984, 323.50 was unopposed; Hight, 3.976, 319.45 def. Force, 4.041, 322.50; 

FINAL _ Hight, 3.975, 319.98 def. Todd, 3.978, 324.75. 


ROUND ONE _ Fernando Cuadra Jr., Ford Mustang, 6.631, 208.04 def. Bo Butner, Chevy Camaro, 8.284, 114.70; Dallas Glenn, Camaro, 6.617, 206.10 def. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.628, 207.34; Kyle Koretsky, Camaro, 6.641, 205.91 def. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.668, 206.64; Camrie Caruso, Camaro, 6.610, 207.50 def. Cristian Cuadra, Mustang, Foul/Red Light; Troy Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.598, 209.36 def. Fernando Cuadra, Mustang, 6.652, 207.11; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.599, 207.78 was unopposed; Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.605, 208.91 def. Mason McGaha, Camaro, 6.627, 208.42; Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.593, 208.97 def. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.674, 208.23; 

QUARTERFINALS _ Stanfield, 6.643, 208.84 def. Koretsky, Foul/Red Light; Anderson, 6.598, 207.72 def. Cuadra Jr., Foul/Red Light; Coughlin Jr., 6.619, 209.23 def. Caruso, 6.635, 207.72; Enders, 6.594, 209.72 def. Glenn, 6.633, 206.16; 

SEMIFINALS _ Coughlin Jr., 6.659, 208.36 def. Anderson, 8.796, 112.18; Enders, 6.649, 208.71 def. Stanfield, 6.652, 208.42; 

FINAL _ Coughlin Jr., 6.638, 208.68 def. Enders, 6.644, 209.17.

Point standings (top-10) following the Flav-R-Pac NHRA Northwest Nationals and conclusion of the Western Swing:

Top Fuel _ 1. Brittany Force, 1,083; 2. Mike Salinas, 1,008; 3. Justin Ashley, 910; 4. Steve Torrence, 862; 5. Josh Hart, 689; 6. Leah Pruett, 673; 7. Shawn Langdon, 657; 8. Doug Kalitta, 624; 9. Austin Prock, 602; 10. Clay Millican, 583.

Funny Car _ 1. Robert Hight, 1,250; 2. Matt Hagan, 1,022; 3. Ron Capps, 956; 4. John Force, 904; 5. Bob Tasca III, 797; 6. J.R. Todd, 708; 7. Cruz Pedregon, 686; 8. Alexis DeJoria, 659; 9. Tim Wilkerson, 574; 10. Jim Campbell, 457.

Pro Stock _1. Erica Enders, 1,078; 2. Aaron Stanfield, 975; 3. Kyle Koretsky, 723; 4. Greg Anderson, 676; 5. Dallas Glenn, 614; 6. Mason McGaha, 572; 7. Troy Coughlin Jr., 571; 8. Camrie Caruso, 539; 9. Matt Hartford, 521; 10. Bo Butner, 475.

Pro Stock Motorcycle _1. Angelle Sampey, 599; 2. Joey Gladstone, 597; 3. Steve Johnson, 587; 4. Matt Smith, 563; 5. Eddie Krawiec, 530; 6. Karen Stoffer, 501; 7. Angie Smith, 500; 8. Jerry Savoie, 468; 9. Marc Ingwersen, 346; 10. Jim Underdahl, 291.

Editor’s Note: John Sturbin is a Texas-based journalist specializing in motorsports. During a near 30-year career with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, he won the Bloys Britt Award for top motorsports story of the year (1991) as judged by The Associated Press; received the National Hot Rod Association’s Media Award (1995) and several in-house Star-Telegram honors. He also was inaugural recipient of the Texas Motor Speedway Excellence in Journalism Award (2009). His list of freelance clients includes Texas Motor Speedway, the Dallas Morning News, New York Newsday, Rome (N.Y.) Daily Sentinel, Corpus Christi (Texas) Caller Times, NASCAR Wire Service, Ford Racing and Used Car Dealer magazine).


| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, August 3 2022
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