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JCM Racing Post-Race Recap: Phoenix

NHRA Arizona Nationals

Event 2 of 21

Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park

Chandler, Ariz.

March 24-26, 2023

Funny Car:

Quarterfinal Finish for Tim Wilkerson in Phoenix

Tim Wilkerson and the Maynard Wilkerson Racing Funny Car team battled tricky track conditions and some early-season gremlins throughout qualifying at the NHRA Arizona Nationals to place 10th on the Funny Car eliminations ladder. Wilkerson drew No. 7 qualifier Terry Haddock as his first-round competitor and led his opponent from start to finish to take the SCAG Power Equipment/Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Mustang into the quarterfinal round.

Next up for Wilkerson was a match with Alexis DeJoria. The 22-time race winner lined up next to DeJoria and was eager to score his second win light of the day but his machine started hazing the tires near the 330-marker while DeJoria made a clean pass for the win in the opposite lane.

“Still sneaking up on my car,” said Wilkerson, the 2016 NHRA Arizona Nationals event champ. “It’s doing stuff to me that I don’t really like, and I don’t understand why it’s doing what it’s doing but I’m analyzing it and actually making it go here and there. It shouldn’t have done what it did in the second round so I’m trying to get to the bottom of that and we’ll see how it goes. We’ll try again next weekend.

“I did get to meet a lot of SCAG dealers and distributors this weekend and that was a lot of fun. We surely appreciate their support, and hopefully, we can put on a good show for them soon.”

The SCAG/LRS team will compete next at the NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, Calif., March 31 – April 2, where Wilkerson will be looking to capture his first In-N-Out Burger Pomona Dragstrip Wally trophy.Qualified: No. 10 (4.228 E.T. at 231.04 MPH)

Elimination Round Results:

E1: 4.003 E.T. at 315.27 MPH defeated Terry Haddock 4.031 E.T. at 309.13 MPH

E2: 4.678 E.T. at 175.96 MPH defeated by Alexis DeJoria 3.949 E.T. at 323.35 MPH

Top Fuel:

Tony Schumacher Bows Out Early in Phoenix

Tony Schumacher and the SCAG Power Equipment Top Fuel team had an early day at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park after tire smoke ended the eight-time world champion’s race day in the first round of eliminations Sunday morning. Schumacher still leaves the final running of the NHRA Arizona Nationals as the winningest Top Fuel driver at the historic facility.

Schumacher, a five-time winner of the Arizona Nationals, made his best run of the weekend in the third qualifying session on Saturday. Racing in front of a sold-out crowd for the second consecutive race, he laid down a 3.762-second pass at 330.07 MPH to put him in the No. 10 spot going into race day.

“We have had so much success at this track and I hope to God that this isn’t the last time we race here,” said Schumacher, who was the first NHRA driver to eclipse the 330-mph barrier (330.23-mph) during the 1999 Phoenix event. “We’ve seen it in the past where we hear that a track is going away and then it gets added back to the schedule for whatever reason. The crowd was just fantastic this weekend, the people have been great, and winning here five times brings a lot of good memories back. This is truly a dynamite place to come and race. We come here early in the year and the conditions are so good.”

Sunday’s first-round match with Justin Ashley was billed as NHRA’s Top Fuel Marquee Matchup. Schumacher went into the race undefeated against Ashley in their four prior meetings, but Ashley got the win this time. He got a slight starting line advantage, then Schumacher’s tiger-striped SCAG Power Equipment machine started to lose traction just before the halftrack mark.

“We love racing, but man, these SCAG dealers and distributors that come out and spend their weekends with us make this so fun,” Schumacher said. “The people who show up and support us are truly a blessing. I’m looking forward to getting to Pomona, but I hope we come back here. With the first-round loss, there is definitely some unfinished business in the desert.”

Schumacher and the SCAG Power Equipment team will get back on track in just a few days when the 2023 NHRA Camping World Series season continues March 30-April 2 at the NHRA Winternationals at In-N-Out Burger Pomona Dragstrip in Pomona, Calif.Qualified: No. 10 (3.762 E.T. at 330.07 MPH)

Elimination Round Results:

E1: 4.879 E.T. at 160.33 MPH defeated by Justin Ashley 3.741 E.T. at 329.67 MPH

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