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Tony Schumacher Scores First Mission #2Fast2Tasty Top Fuel Challenge Victory at NHRA Arizona Nationals

CHANDLER, Ariz. (April 6, 2024) – Tony Schumacher and the Leatherwood Distillery/RAC Financial Top Fuel team scored their first victory of the 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series season when they clinched the NHRA Arizona Nationals Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge on Saturday afternoon at Firebird Motorsports Park.

After recording his best qualifying position in 46 events during the NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, California, Schumacher advanced from the No. 2 spot into the final round by defeating Terry Totten, Shawn Langdon, and Billy Torrence at In-N-Out Burger Pomona Dragstrip. By moving beyond the quarterfinals in Pomona, Schumacher earned a spot in the Phoenix running of the Mission Foods-backed specialty race.

On Friday afternoon at Firebird, Schumacher faced Billy Torrence, his Pomona semifinal opponent, during the first qualifying round, which also served as the first elimination round for the Phoenix #2Fast2Tasty Challenge. Against Torrence, Schumacher took the Leatherwood/RAC Financial dragster into the second and final round of the Challenge by clocking a 3.755 E.T. at 328.38 MPH to defeat his competitor’s tire-smoker. During Saturday’s first session, Schumacher was first out of the gate against Brittany Force and never trailed for the win. In front of a sellout crowd, he lit up the scoreboard with a time of 3.925 seconds at 292.77 to defeat Force’s pass of 4.378 at 216.62 and capture his first #2Fast2Tasty Challenge win in his first appearance in the specialty series, which was introduced in 2023. After picking up his first piece of hardware since his 2022 NHRA Northwest Nationals triumph, Schumacher then went on to race against former teammate Justin Ashley in the weather-delayed Pomona final round hoping to sweep the day. He powered to a solid 3.772 at 326 MPH, but it wasn’t enough to outpace Ashley who used his holeshot advantage to edge past Schumacher before the finish line stripe.

I think the Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty Challenge is interesting because we were coming in without a winner from the last race at the time and I was wondering how it was going to work out. But I only worried about it because we hadn’t been in any of the challenges last year. I wasn’t familiar with it. So, coming out and getting to earn that championship, get my name on the trophy, and get that check, it was great. I really like what Mission Foods is doing. I think it’s a cool, unique thing for the fans that pay good money to come out on Saturday and see an actual race instead of just qualifying,” said Schumacher, who has enjoyed a steady uptick in performance since the beginning of the 2023 Countdown to the Championship after a frustrating start to the season in which he only advanced beyond the first round three times throughout the first 15 events.

Since the 2023 Reading, Pennsylvania event, Schumacher and the Leatherwood team have advanced to two semifinal appearances, a quarterfinal finish, and a runner-up finish on Saturday in Phoenix. Schumacher has been vocal as of late about how he feels his team has been progressing and believes that they’re on the right track to be bonafide championship contenders in 2024.

“Just an excellent job overall by the Leatherwood car and the RAC Financial team,” added the winningest Top Fuel driver in NHRA history with 86 national event triumphs. “All of the guys are doing a great job. We’ve got a good car going into race day.”

Schumacher will start race day at the NHRA Arizona Nationals from the No. 6 spot on the strength of his Q1 3.755-second pass. The Leatherwood Distillery/RAC Financial driver will have an opportunity for redemption as he is slated to face No. 11 qualifier Ashley once again in the first round of eliminations as he attempts to pick up a sixth Firebird Motorsports Park victory.


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