TONY SCHUMACHER AND MORE STARS MAKING BIG MOVES AT BETWAY NHRA CAROLINA NATIONALS
A regular season filled with struggles changed almost overnight for Tony Schumacher. The Top Fuel legend and eight-time world champ enjoyed a sizeable turnaround to open the Countdown to the Championship, advancing to the semifinals last weekend to kick off the playoffs. He moved up to ninth in the points standings heading to this weekend’s betway NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMax Dragway, determined to make another significant jump at a track that has served him well over the years in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. Schumacher has won the Charlotte fall race at the zMax Dragway twice and is excited for another big weekend at the Bellagio of Dragstrips. Last weekend was Schumacher’s best performance in his 11,000-horsepower SCAG Power Equipment/JCM Racing dragster in three months and it couldn’t have happened at a better time as the 86-time event winner has his sights set on a big playoff push. “I love Charlotte,” Schumacher said. “We’re getting down to cutthroat time with just five races left in the season. Right now, we’ve got to make moves, but our SCAG dragster performed so great last weekend in Reading. I’ve been saying all year long, that we’re going to get it figured out. It’s not a matter of if but when. We have a lot of confidence going into this weekend and we all feel really good about these last few races of the year.” Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car) and Aaron Stanfield (Pro Stock) claimed victories in 2022 at the fall race at zMax Dragway. Funny Car’s Robert Hight, who won the spring race in Charlotte at zMax Dragway, moved into the points lead last weekend with a victory, but stands at just three points over back-to-back defending world champ Capps. Others to watch include Bob Tasca III, Matt Hagan, John Force, Chad Green and J.R. Todd. Matt Hartford moved into the Pro Stock points lead for the first time in his career with his win in the playoff opener. He’ll try to keep it against the likes of reigning world champion Erica Enders, Dallas Glenn, Troy Coughlin Jr., defending event winner Stanfield and Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals winner Deric Kramer. Also on track will be the Pro Stock Motorcycle division which will include the likes of points leader Matt Smith, who jumped Gaige Herrera with his win to start the Countdown. Hot on their heels are Hector Arana Jr., Eddie Krawiec and Angie Smith. The betway NHRA Carolina Nationals also will feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, which includes some of the sport’s top drivers, as well as the new NHRA Factory X presented by Holley class, the ever-exciting Mountain Motor Pro Stock category and a Top Fuel Motorcycle exhibition. Fans can also look forward to special freestyle motocross exhibitions all weekend. The star riders will perform three times a day in the midway, adding another entertaining aspect to the weekend. On Saturday, fans can brush up on their NHRA knowledge and attend Nitro School to learn more about how the cars operate and reach their thrilling speeds. That takes place at the Nitro Alley Stage all weekend, which is the main entertainment hub in the pits when the Camping World Drag Racing Series competitors are not on the track, hosting Nitro School, meet and greets and much more. Race fans at zMAX Dragway can enjoy the special pre-race ceremonies that introduce and celebrate each of the drivers racing for the prestigious Wally on Sunday and include the fan favorite SealMaster Track Walk. The final can’t-miss experience of any NHRA event is the winner’s circle celebration on Sunday after racing concludes, where fans are invited to congratulate the betway NHRA Carolina Nationals event winners. As always, fans also get an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet at zMax Dragway in Charlotte. This unique opportunity gives fans a chance to see teams in action and service their hot rods between rounds, get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers, and more. Fans can also visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create an exciting atmosphere that includes interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food, and fun for the entire family. NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature one round at 6:00 p.m. ET on Friday, Sept. 22, and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Sept. 23 at 1:00 and 4:00 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11:00 a.m. ET on Sunday, Sept. 24. Television coverage includes qualifying action on FS1 at 9:30 a.m. ET on Saturday and 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, and then eliminations on FS1 at 2:00 p.m. ET on Sunday. To purchase tickets to betway NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway, please visit www.zmaxdragway.com or call 800-455-FANS (3267). For more information about NHRA, please visit www.NHRA.com.