ENNIS, Texas – Tony Schumacher raced to his fifth Top Fuel victory of the season and first in the playoffs, beating Shawn Langdon in the final round Sunday in the NHRA Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex.
Schumacher had a final run of 3.838 seconds at 320.43 mph, while Langdon trailed in 3.908 at 298.67.
With the victory and rival Larry Dixon's second-round loss, Schumacher cut Dixon's series lead to 94 points with three playoff races remaining. Dixon has 11 victories this year.
"When Dixon goes out, you absolutely have to rise to the occasion and win and put some pressure back on him," Schumacher said after his fifth Texas Motorplex victory and 66th career win. "I wish we could have done this a race or two earlier, but we didn't and Dallas is a great place to start. It's the site of my first career Top Fuel win. We're only down (94) points with three races to go. I've been down a lot further than that. What NHRA and Full Throttle did was to make it this way, make it last all the way to the end. I'm in a happy place right now. Not where I want to be yet, but a lot better place than I was at 9 a.m. this morning."
Matt Hagan, Greg Anderson and LE Tonglet also won in the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship playoff event on the all-concrete dragstrip.
Hagan made a major move in the playoffs with his third Funny Car win of the season. He powered to a 4.155 at 294.63 in his Dodge Charger to beat series leader John Force, whose Ford Mustang lost traction near midtrack and finished in 4.491 at 203.74. Hagan is second in the standings, 25 points behind force.
Anderson overcame a near-perfect reaction time from Mike Edwards to claim his second consecutive playoff victory in Pro Stock. Anderson powered his Pontiac GXP to a 6.585 at 209.39 to drive around Edwards' GXP at the finish line. With the win, three-time world champ Anderson cut Edwards' series lead to 16 points.
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Tonglet won his third consecutive playoff race over Andrew Hines. Hines fouled with a red-light start on his Harley-Davidson and gave Suzuki rider Tonglet the automatic win. Tonglet, who covered the distance in 6.972 at 187.94, cut Hines' series lead to 44 points.