Todd & Gray Lead U.S. Nationals Testing
Nine-time Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals winner Tony Schumacher was fourth after one day with a run of 3.815 at 294.75 in his U.S. Army Dragster. Schumacher, who was the 2012 winner in Top Fuel, can become the all-time wins leader at the event with a victory this year.
Rounding out the top five was Morgan Lucas, who powered his GEICO/Lucas Oil dragster to a 3.835 at 298.73.
In Funny Car, Johnny Gray continued to stay in championship form as the four-time event winner in 2013 powered his 8,000-horsepower Pitch Energy Dodge Charger to a strong run of 4.063 at 308.35. Gray has never won the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, finishing as the runner-up in 2003.
Four-time Indy winner John Force posted the second-best time of Wednesday, making a pass of 4.091 at 311.94 in his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang. A fifth win at the event would tie Force with Ed McCulloch for the most in Funny Car history.
Seeking his first win of 2013 is defending world champion Jack Beckman, who was third in testing with a 4.110 at 258.57 in his Valvoline/MTS Dodge Charger. Beckman is also after his first Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals win.
“Everything’s just a little bit bigger here at Indy,” Beckman said. “We’re trying to get our power level up. We feel like that’s something that has hurt our consistency a little bit. I think we’re taking small steps in the right direction.
“It’s been tough for this team this year. We’re 17 races in and we haven’t won a trophy yet. We know we’re better than that.”
Rounding out the top five was Bob Tasca III, who drove his Motorcraft/Quick Lane Shelby Ford Mustang to a 4.116 at 277.15, and Robert Hight, who went 4.164 at 295.14 in his Auto Club Ford Mustang. Both are fighting to stay in the top 10 for the Countdown, adding even more emphasis to this week’s testing session at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
“We put a lot of emphasis on this race,” said Hight, who is currently 10th in points and four behind Tasca. “It’s the biggest race of the year for us. There’s more at stake for us. Not only are we testing to try to win the (Chevrolet Performance) U.S. Nationals, we’re testing to make sure our car is set for the last seven races.
“I’m not comfortable. I wish we were up there two or three spots. This is a big one for us. Being in that top 10 is huge. Our guys know what’s at stake and everybody is all in on this one.”
Jerry Savoie had the quickest run in Pro Stock Motorcycle, riding his White Alligator Racing Suzuki to a 6.971 at 191.70. Former NHRA Pro Mod Racing Series world champion Von Smith led Pro Mod drivers with a pass of 5.985 at 236.59.