Don Schumacher Racing needs to regroup before 'Western Swing' ends
Worst showing since 2006 has team concerned.
For the first time since 2006, Don Schumacher Racing has not won an NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event title on one the first two legs of the annual "Western Swing."
The deepest advancements for DSR on Sunday in the Sonoma NHRA Nationals near San Francisco were semifinals finishes by Tony Schumacher (in photo) in Top Fuel and Matt Hagan in Funny Car. Schumacher, who owns two Sonoma trophies, qualified No. 3 with the U.S. Army team but lost traction against event runner-up Shawn Langdon. In Funny Car, Hagan, who qualified fifth, lost to event winner Courtney Force in the semis.
The Sonoma Nationals was the second stop of the annual "Western Swing" with three races in three weeks. The Swing, which started a week ago near Denver, closes with a stop near Seattle.
Antron Brown and the Matco Tools team had a chance to move around points leader Doug Kalitta from second to first in Top Fuel points but were upset in the first round by DSR teammate Spencer Massey. Brown heads to Seattle next week trailing Kalitta by 46 points.
Beckman's hopes take a hit
DSR Funny Car driver Jack Beckman suffered another blow to his hopes of winning his second NHRA Funny Car world championship in three years when his Valvoline SynPower Dodge Charger R/T team was upset by Tim Wilkerson in the first round. Beckman started the day ranked 10th in the standings with a one-point lead over Wilkerson but has fallen 11th and 19 points out of the coveted 10th position.
The Mello Yello regular season ends in three more events when the top-10 will be finalized and points reset for the six-race Countdown to the Championship to determine world champions.
HEMI-powered runner-up finish for Gaines at NHRA Sonoma Nationals
Torrence looking to repeat Top Fuel success at Northwest Nationals