The Schumachers Win Penultimate NHRA Nationals at Baytown
It may have seemed strange to newcomers that the 33rd Annual Mopar Express Lane SpringNationals were being run in October, but due to the coronavirus lockdown, the 2020 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series schedule has been nothing but strange. Nonetheless, the inaugural event at Houston Raceway Park located in Baytown was also held in October 1988. Moreover, during the track’s 32-year history as a major multi-purpose motorsports venue, the facility hosted both a spring and a fall national event from 1997 to 2000. So, the biggest difference for many devoted drag racing fans was the limited number of spectators allowed at this year’s event. Typically, Baytown would have added grandstands for a seating capacity of more than 30,000 screaming race fans.
Schumacher Makes History with 85th Top Fuel Win
This season’s event did not disappoint, as the winningest Top Fuel driver in the National Hot Rod Association’s history captured his 85th Wally by defeating the defending NHRA Camping World champion Steve Torrence at the NHRA SpringNationals at Houston Raceway Park. Although it had been over two years since Tony Schumacher had visited Victory Lane at an NHRA national event. Nonetheless, this was Schumacher’s third career win at Houston Raceway Park. The eight-time season champion posted a 3.669 ET at 330.63 mph to Torrence’s 3.687 ET at 330.07 mph. With Torrence fresh off wins in two of his last three NHRA events, the incoming Camping World series points leader added to his total by finishing second to Tony Schumacher as well as qualifying number one in Top Fuel during Saturday’s runs.
Thirteen Race Win Streak for DSR in Funny Car
There is a reason that he’s called “Fast Jack” and Beckman cashed in Saturday as Funny Car’s number one qualifier. On Sunday, final round action delivered Tony’s father at Don Schumacher Racing a double victory in Baytown, when nitro Funny Car driver Tommy Johnson Jr. locked himself into title contention for 2020 by extending the team’s win streak to 13 straight NHRA national events. However, with John Force Racing missing in action due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Don Schumacher Racing appears to have a stacked deck with Johnson Jr. and his teammates Ron Capps (NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hell Cat), Matt Hagan (Mopar/Pennzoil/Sandvik Coromant Dodge Charger SRT Hell Cat), and Fast Jack Beckman (Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hell Cat). It was Johnson Jr.’s third Funny Car win in 2020 and the 22nd Wally of his career.
Surprising Wins in Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle
It was just a matter of time before Aaron Stanfield would claim his first win in NHRA Camping World Pro Stock and Eddie Krawiec would return to the top of the podium in Pro Stock Motorcycle. Both events happened in the final round of the 33rd Annual Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals presented by Pennzoil. Alex Laughlin was number one qualifier in Pro Stock for the third time in his career, but the top-12 qualifiers were separated by only four hundredths of a second. Jeg Coughlin Jr. relied on fast reaction times of .008-seconds to eliminate Erica Enders before posting a .015 RT against Stanfield in the Pro Stock final. Stanfield’s 6.535ET at 211.03 mph earned him his first Pro Stock Wally in only his second final round. Although Matt Smith posted another 200-plus mph run in Pro Stock Motorcycle, Eddie Krawiec won for the first time in more than two years, edging Ryan Oehler for his 48th Wally.
The 2020 Dodge NHRA Finals presented by Pennzoil hosts an action-packed conclusion at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Oct. 30 thru Nov. 1. NHRA champions will be crowned in all four Camping World classes as well as in the E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod Series presented by J&A Service.