INDIANAPOLIS, IN. (September 5th, 2016) The 2016 Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals has officially come to a close. As the final race of the regular season, the five day event is the most prestigious race on the NHRA circuit. For most people, the Labor Day holiday is a time to relax, but for the drivers and riders of the NHRA, it’s anything but. With final countdown positions on the line, speciality races, and the biggest crowds, it’s no wonder this race is the mecca of them all.
Tony Schumacher picked up his 2nd Wally of the season, which also happens to be his record 10th at Indy, and a record 82nd in the Top Fuel class. Schumacher first made his Top Fuel debut at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis 20 years ago. He was also the winner of the Traxxas Nitro Shootout on Saturday. “The Sarge” got the win over Steve Torrence on a holeshot with a 3.806 to 3.803. This is Torrence’s third appearance and runner up finish in Top Fuel at Indianapolis. “Right now I’m just going to sit back and savor the moment because what we just did was incredible. I’m just proud of the team,” Schumacher told us. “Going into the countdown we have a very raceable car but races are not just decided by the best teams and the best drivers; it’s a lot of luck and a lot of fortune of right time, right place. So you can have all those things going for you and make a mistake or you can do everything right and just have bad fortune so we’ll just see. Right now I think we’ve got the right things happening and the team’s positive, everyone’s energized and the car’s doing great. I’m looking forward to going to Charlotte to getting it started.” The points battle for the 10th spot in the countdown went to Leah Pritchett after Terry McMillen red-lit in the first round. The two were tied for points but Pritchett had the tie-breaker. After having an up and down start to the season, she found a team and a sponsor that gave her the chance to run her first full season. Needless to say, getting into the countdown to fight for the championship is her way of helping repay them.
Matt Hagan helped give his boss, Don Schumacher, his team’s first double up win at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals. Hagan started the week on top after he qualified number one with a national ET record of 3.858; then finished the race on top after he took out Del Worsham with a nice pass of 3.964 at 327.43 mph. “Del’s a great driver and he’s one of those guy’s who’s a great tuner and he’s won championships so he’s one of those guy’s you have to get up for; I was able to do that, I had a great car underneath me and it all worked out today.” Hagan said. “I can see [confidence] in my crew chief’s guys and I can see it in my guys’ eyes. That drives me to rise to the occasion and make things happen so I try to do my job on the starting line. All in all I think we’re sitting in a really good position. We did the best we could to come out on top of the points situation to start the countdown and just turn it on from here.” Alexis Dejoria was able to put her name in the top 10. After missing two races after sustaining an injury in Sonoma, the future looked uncertain for Dejoria’s championship chances. But after Chad Head went out in round two, her spot was solidified.
Chris McGaha hoisted the Wally after defeated Allen Johnson in the final round of competition. This is McGaha’s 4th career win in the class. 6.688 at 207.15 was all McGaha needed to drive past Johnson, who had three consecutive rounds of holeshot wins up until the finals. “I really didn’t think I had a chance today but we just kept working at it and working at it. Next thing you know here we are in the finals and we got it done. It’s a pretty big deal. U.S. Nationals; that’s hard to believe. It’s about as good as the first win ever,” McGaha told us. Despite winning the event he say’s he’s still playing catch up to get his engine configuration right. “We’re still working on it, all the time I’m screaming ‘I need more power because something doesn’t look right’. But I know I’m close I just don’t seem to be able to get over the hump.” Erica Enders is now able to breathe easy knowing that she’s officially in the 9th spot in the countdown. Her teammate, Jeg Coughlin, now occupies 10th as Alex Laughlin lost to his teammate, Shane Gray, in the second round.
Pro Stock Motorcycle
Class leader, Andrew Hines, was victorious yet again at the U.S. Nationals. Hector Arana Jr. was in the other lane against Hines when he red-lit for the fifth time this season. This is Hine’s 47th career victory. Cory Reed bowed out in the semifinal after he turned on the red bulb against Hector Arana Jr. but qualified for the countdown and will start the post-season in the 10th position.