There was a lot of racing action worth taking note of this past long weekend at the U.S. Nationals, but despite that there was only one name on everybody’s lips: Schumacher. The 39-year-old drag racer simply blew fans away with his performance as he swept in and set even more records.
Despite suffering the negative effects of having his U.S. Army-sponsored dragster not functioning up to standard at the start of the weekend, Tony Schumacher managed to pull ahead of the competition yet again in the big race on Monday, September 1. The 54th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals were held at the O’Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis and it was one exciting weekend. By the time the race ended on Monday, Schumacher had not only claimed the winner’s trophy, but he set a new record by winning 24 straight elimination rounds. He drove furiously, mowing down his competitors and pushing his way to the head of the pack. The win also extended his winning streak to six consecutive national event wins – a new Top Fuel record. This was his eleventh win of the, a new class record, and his seventh victory at the U.S. Nationals in nine years. The mean machine is now tied with Joe Amato, with 52 victories for first all-time in Top Fuel. If his luck continues he may pass Amato in two weeks time when he races at the Carolina Nationals in Concord.
When asked about his success on the track this past weekend, Schumacher said: “An awful lot of great things happened today. To do all of that on the same day you win at Indy, it’s hard to figure out what you’re smiling about most.” And he certainly was smiling. And who could blame him? That kind of success is part luck, part hard work and he’s proved that he’s earned every bit of it. In the final race against Doug Kalitta, Schumacher flew down the hot track in 3.916 seconds, leaving Kalitta to choke on his fumes and finish in 4.036 seconds. Schumacher now faces the Countdown to One championship playoff in which he will be trying to take his fifth straight championship. The upcoming weeks will no doubt be exciting for Schumacher and his fans alike.
While there may be hundreds of images of bleached blonde, busty woman splashed across the pages of auto magazines and calendars, there are not many women who actually drive at major auto racing events. It would seem that times are changing, however, with a handful of brilliant female drivers carving up local circuits and even leaving male counterparts choking on their exhaust fumes.
Sunday saw another landmark victory in the battle of the sexes at Heartland Park in Topeka, Kansas. Hillary Will became the 11th woman in NHRA history to take first place at a national event. Will whizzed around the circuit to take first place in Top Fuel at the O’Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals. The sensational win was the first in Will’s career and had her grinning, laughing and shaking hands. Hillary Will managed to beat the No. 1 qualifier Larry Dixon when she drove her dragster to a 4.744-second run at a top speed of 304.53 mph. In doing so she not only took first place, but she became the third female to win in the past four NHRA races. It would definitely seem that ladies are making headway in this predominantly male-dominated domain and you can be sure that the men are having a lot to say about it.
This was only Hillary Will’s 55th professional start and it was the first Top Fuel win for team owner Ken Black. It would seem that the win comes as a result of Will’s decision to simply enjoy her job instead of worrying about winning or loosing. Will admitted that she’s let the pressure get to her previously, but she had finally told herself that she was incredibly lucky to have the job she had. She also felt incredibly proud to have the support of her team who have never doubted her in the two and a half years she has been working with them, regardless of how much she may have doubted herself in that time. She considered herself to be the luckiest driver in the world and dedicated the win to her team. This was definitely a proud moment for both Will and her remarkable and supportive team.