Persistent Rains Force Postponement
of Lucas Oil Nationals
By NHRA Communications
MOHNTON, Pa. - Sunday's final eliminations for the 18th
annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway were postponed
due to persistent rains. Eliminations have been rescheduled for Monday
at 10:30 a.m. for the $1.9 million race, the 18th of 23
events in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
The start of eliminations was delayed nearly two hours
before the first round of Top Fuel was completed. Midway through the
opening round of Funny Car eliminations the rains resumed, forcing NHRA
officials to postpone the race.
Top Fuel No. 1 qualifier Tony Schumacher recorded the
second quickest pass during the opening round when he clocked a 4.589
second run in his U.S. Army dragster to defeat Don Sosenka. Schumacher,
who will face Doug Herbert in the second round, is looking to earn his
second consecutive tour victory.
"We would have loved to continue the race in the
conditions we had in qualifying and today," said Schumacher.
"Looking at the weather, it's still going to be cloudy tomorrow and
if it's cool we'll still be able to run good. I feel we definitely have
the car to beat. I would have rather gotten the race in, but there's
nothing we can do about it. We'll just have to wait until the morning
and see what happens."
Top Fuel points leader Larry Dixon advanced to round
two of eliminations, as did his nearest competitor in the points chase
"We've been through this many times before,"
said Bernstein. "You just have to live with it and go with it. The
hardest part before the first round was that I got in and out of the car
four or five times. That was the hardest part of the day."
The biggest upset of the rain-shortened first round
happened in Funny Car when No. 15 qualifier Todd Paton defeated John
Force, who was racing for his fourth straight victory. Force suffered an
engine failure near half-track, which allowed Paton to drive around for
"It's kind of nice to be the little fish that
could," said Paton. "It's anybody's day. Once you get a dance
card to Sunday, anything can happen. That's only the second time I've
raced him, so I'm batting .500 against him. Not many people can say