Tony Schumacher moved up some prestigious NHRA lists as he raced to a record ninth Top Fuel victory at the rain-delayed Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis on Sunday.
Mike Neff (Funny Car) and Dave Connolly (Pro Stock) also were winners of the final regular season event in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.
Schumacher moved past “Big Daddy” Don Garlits for most Indy Top Fuel wins and into a tie with Pro Stock great Bob Glidden for most pro category wins at the world's most prestigious drag race. In the final round, Schumacher powered his U.S. Army dragster to a 3.806 at 315.34 to hold off Spencer Massey, who trailed with a 3.828 at 319.37 in his FRAM/Prestone dragster.
Schumacher beat Hillary Will, Morgan Lucas and top qualifier Shawn Langdon in early rounds to advance to his 11th career U.S. Nationals final round.
Another Don Schumacher Racing driver, Antron Brown, secured the top seed in the Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship and Bob Vandergriff Jr. held off Clay Millican and Khalid alBalooshi for the 10th and final playoff spot in Top Fuel.
In Funny Car, Neff raced to his second consecutive victory at this event, holding off hard-charging Tim Wilkerson in the final round. The win keeps John Force Racing's domination going at Indy, as it is the fifth consecutive season that a JFR car has won this event.
Neff took his third win of the season and ninth of his career by powering his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang to a final-round performance of 4.079 at 311.05 to finish in front of Wilkerson's Levi Ray & Shoup Shelby Mustang, which finished in 4.152 at 286.13.
Wilkerson's runner-up finish elevated him to 10th in the final regular season points and into the Countdown playoffs, along with Jeff Arend, who secured the ninth spot. Defending world champ Matt Hagan just missed making the playoffs as he lost in the semifinals to Neff. Ron Capps earned the top seed in the playoffs in Funny Car.
Connolly used a reaction time advantage to edge teammate Erica Enders in the Pro Stock final round. Enders' full-time crew chief covered the distance in 6.589 at 210.05 in his IDG Chevy Cobalt to finish just in front of Enders, who posted a quicker but losing 6.580 at 210.31 in her GK Motorsports Chevy Cobalt.
It was Connolly's third U.S. Nationals win and the 23rd of his career. The former perennial world championship challenger who is Enders' full-time tuner is running a limited schedule this season in a second Victor Cagnazzi-owned machine. Enders, who has won three races this season, was trying to become only the fourth female driver to win the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in the Full Throttle Series.
Allen Johnson captured the top seed in Pro Stock for the Countdown playoffs and the final three Pro Stock playoff positions were claimed by V. Gaines, Larry Morgan and four-time world champ Jeg Coughlin.
NHRA's six-race playoffs, the Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship, opens Sept. 14-16 with the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals presented by Super Start Batteries at zMAX Dragway near Charlotte, N.C.
Sunday's final results from the 58th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus at Lucas Oil Raceway Park at Indianapolis. The race is the 17th of 23 in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series:
Tony Schumacher, 3.806 seconds, 315.34 mph def. Spencer Massey, 3.828 seconds, 319.37 mph.
Mike Neff, Ford Mustang, 4.079, 311.05 def. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.152, 286.13.
Pro Stock :
Dave Connolly, Chevy Cobalt, 6.589, 210.05 def. Erica Enders, Cobalt, 6.580, 210.31.
PRO Stock Bike:
Andrew Hines(Harley) def. Hector Arana(Buell)