Drag Racing Online: The Magazine

Volume VIII, Issue 6, Page

Compiled by Ian Tocher
Photos by Jeff Burk and Ron Lewis

The 2006 NHRA POWERade tour reached its midpoint June 23-25, with the running of the 10th annual O’Reilly Midwest Nationals at Gateway International Raceway, near St. Louis, MO, where defending Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher finally returned to form, scoring his first win of the year, while Tony Pedregon picked up his third Funny Car title this season. They were joined in victory lane by Mike Edwards with his second Pro Stock win of the year, and Chip Ellis, who turned the win light on in the Pro Stock Motorcycle final. And as always, the racers told the story themselves in quotes contained within NHRA and team press releases.

"It's no secret that we've been struggling up to now, so to finally get the monkey off our backs and get a win is just tremendous."— Tony Schumacher on having to wait 12 races in 2006 to get his 31st career win

"It's just one of those things. I was just trying to get the car stopped so we didn't do any more damage. I was trying to keep it off the wall and grab the brake. That was kind of hard to do on three wheels.”— Cory McClenathan after losing the right rear tire when a header pipe blew off in the middle of his final qualifying attempt

"There wasn't anything obviously wrong with the car. There were no broken welds. Looking at it, it didn't appear the chassis was bent severely. As we got the section repaired that was obviously ground down and we got the rear end back in the car, it looked as though the rear end wasn't in right. So we got our laser out, checked it with the front end and found out the rear end was six inches out of alignment. At that point, it became a very serious problem, so we looked for the problem area. It's not easily distinguishable. It is spread over the whole length of the car and it is not a simple fix, so I decided at that point we couldn't run this car."— Wes Cerny, crew chief for McClenathan, on the damage sustained when their car’s right frame rail dragged along the track for several hundred feet before the car made contact with the left guardwall. McClenathan subsequently withdrew from competition as Cerny declared their backup chassis also was not ready for competition

"People have been asking me all year when we were gonna’ win. I don't always know. I go when the light comes on. I can't control some things. When the car doesn't work right, what am I supposed to do? Fire Alan Johnson? I'd be an idiot.”— Schumacher stating the obvious

"I can't begin to explain how disappointing it is.”— Doug Herbert after the DNQ that ended his 58-race consecutive qualifying streak

"The car left fine. Then it started to rattle the tires and lose traction. I lifted and tried to get back on the throttle, but I could see Tony was already gone.”— Bernstein after falling to Schumacher in the final round

"Considering I had to lift off the go pedal, we still ran a pretty good number."— Fuller on the losing 4.99 he ran in the opening round against first-time entrant Troy Buff