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Morgan Lucas nips Tony Schumacher for Top Fuel pole with track-record run

Updated: August 2, 2013 7:15AM

Speaking in front of a group that included several U.S. Army soldiers at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, drag racer Tony Schumacher made a surprising admission.

Schumacher said Saturday after-
noon that he felt uncomfortable and scared in the cockpit of his Top Fuel dragster for perhaps the first time in his life during a qualifying run Friday. Schumacher’s visor had fogged up, and he couldn’t see the drag strip in front of him. So he closed his eyes and hit the gas.

Schumacher’s blind run was good enough to take the provisional pole with a time of 3.772 seconds.

But as the second and third rounds of Top Fuel qualifying in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66
Nationals progressed Saturday, it was clear Schumacher’s time wouldn’t hold up.

Schumacher lost the pole to
Lucas Oil scion Morgan Lucas, who claimed the top spot for the eliminations Sunday with a track-record elapsed time of 3.737 seconds. Schumacher qualified No. 2 with a 3.738-second time.

Lucas was relieved and ecstatic that he beat Schumacher by a thousandth of a second for his first No. 1 spot of the season.

“We knew there was potential for record numbers because on this track, when it’s cold, it’s probably as good as anything,” Lucas said. “We were sitting in the car listening to the [NHRA] radio [broadcast], and when we heard that last number, we were punching the roof and not realizing what we were doing.”

The track temperature was only 72 degrees during the third Funny Car qualifying run — and it showed in how many drivers ran quicker than four seconds. Four drivers were in the threes: Ron Capps (3.988), Bob Tasca (3.988), Jack Beckman (3.993) and Del Worsham (3.999). The times by Capps and Tasca are the third-fastest in NHRA Funny Car history. Capps’ speed of 320.28 mph is a Route 66 record.

In the Pro Stock division, Mike Edwards drove his 2013 Camaro to track records in time and speed during the third qualifying round. Edwards’ pass of 6.542 seconds at 210.64 mph secured the top spot. In the second qualifying round,
Edwards also had a then-record time of 6.570.

“When you can come to a race and you know you can maintain what you’re doing, you feel like you can make some good runs,” Edwards said. “That first run today was probably one of the nicest runs we’ve made. To come back and run even better was a hat’s off to all my guys.”

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