Don Schumacher Racing drivers Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel) and Matt Hagan (Funny Car) picked up win in the rescheduled Pep Boys NHRA Carolina Nationals, postponed from last weekend at zMAX Dragway in Concord, North Carolina. The event was completed during the qualifying rounds for the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex near Dallas. Jonathan Gray (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also picked up Wallys from the Charlotte event.
Schumacher picked up his 75th career Wally in Top Fuel with a win over Khalid alBalooshi in the finals. He picked up round wins over Bob Vandergriff, Billy Torrence and DSR teammate Spencer Massey on his way to the finals.
“It couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Schumacher, who jumped from fourth to first in points with the win. “It is the first race in the Countdown even though we had to move it, it doesn’t really matter. In reality, fantastic timing, we took over the points lead, I don’t know where we are but we are in the lead. If we can maintain and stay ahead of these guys for five more races, and I know we have the car capable of doing it, we’ll be there to force the issue.”
Hagan picked up his win over rival John Force, after earlier round wins over Tony Pedregon, Tim Wilkerson and Robert Hight. It was the 12th win of his career.
“My guys busted their butts today, I’m so proud of them,” said Hagan, who moved from fifth to third in points. “To see my guys sweating and working so hard, it makes me so proud of them. They are a great group. I wouldn’t trade Dickie Venables for any crew chief out here. The guy is smart, he is methodical, and this is only our second year together and we still have a lot of growing to do.”
Rookie Gray picked up his first career Pro Stock victory over Jason Line. Early round wins over Rodger Brogdon, V. Gaines and his teammate and brother Shane Gray led to his first Wally.
“It’s huge, it is big for all the guys back at the shop and all the guys at Gray Motorsports,” said Gray. “They are doing a phenomenal job, all the guys in the engine shop. I’ve got a really good group of guys. I’ve got to thank my wife and kids for their support and my mom and dad for being so supportive. I can’t say enough and such a good deal.”
Krawiec picked up early round wins over Brian Pretzel, Scott Pollacheck and his Screamin’ Eagles Harley-Davidson teammate Andrew Hines on his way to the finals against Steve Johnson, posting his 26th career win.
“You want to do well at every race you go to and you want to be prepared,” said Krawiec. “The key for us I think was rolling off the truck with great momentum, and making good runs down the track. That is what I have done with my Harley the last couple of laps and making good clean straight runs. Work on your setup and tweak away at it. I think I’ve got an awesome motorcycle and it has been great to do. I’m excited.”
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Quotes in this piece provided by the NHRA.
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