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."
"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.”
"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."
"I can't begin to explain how disappointing it is.”
"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.”
"Considering I had to lift off the go pedal, we still ran a pretty good number."