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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

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 Kenny Bernstein.

"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 the win.

"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 that."

NHRA Communications

 

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