Lincoln Electric is a proud partner of John Force Racing.
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Tony Schumacher raced his way to the Top Fuel victory Sunday at the 48th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway.
John Force (Funny Car), Shane Gray (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were also winners in their respective categories at the third of 24 events on the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.
Schumacher, an eight-time Top Fuel world champion, piloted his U.S. Army dragster to a 3.703-second pass at 329.26 mph for the 83rd victory of his career and first of the season. He defeated reigning world champion Antron Brown who ran a 3.764 at 322.65 in his Matco Tools dragster. With the win, Schumacher becomes the winningest Top Fuel driver at the facility with five after previously being in a four-way tie.
“We have great, great people working together. I’m loving driving the car,” Schumacher said. “We’re in the fight every day, every race. It’s going to be a fun year, man. I’m comfortable driving the car. It’s running right down the middle. Its running extremely fast. It doesn’t have any part on the race track where I feel that I’m in danger. Its doing everything that a driver dreams about sitting in a Top Fuel car.”
Schumacher defeated Smax Smith, Clay Millican and Steve Torrence en route to the victory. Brown was able to get past Chris Karamasines, rookie Troy Coughlin Jr. and Doug Kalitta before falling to Schumacher in the finals.
Force, a 16-time world champion and the winningest driver in NHRA history, ran a 3.928 at 328.14 in his PEAK Chevy Camaro Funny Car for the 148th victory of his career, eighth at Gainesville and first of the season. He defeated rookie Jonnie Lindberg’s 3.971 at 314.83 in his Head Racing Toyota Camry.
“I made a lot of changes coming here. Don’t know if I’m smart or just lucky. I surround myself with great people. They’re the ones who make it happen, then the sponsors and then the cheer of the crowd. They made one mistake out here. They let me find the music. I found myself. A lot of things area about heart, and about luck. You always feel somebody up there likes ya. I believe hard work, dedication and what we went though, it’s been a draining day. I’m not accepting that I’m done. I’ve been real lucky.”
The victory marks the 2,500th Funny Car round-win for John Force Racing. Force raced past Del Worsham, Jack Beckman and Tommy Johnson Jr. on his way to the finals. Lindberg defeated Dave Richards in the first round and upset Robert Hight and Matt Hagan to get to the final.
The 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season continues at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway March 31-April 2.