Schumacher, who moved into the series points lead with the victory, says he was thrilled to get a win on his crew chief Mike Green’s birthday so he could put the spotlight on his crew for their great efforts during the weekend.
“I didn’t drive amazing today,” Schumacher said. “I didn’t have stellar lights like Antron and Spencer, but you try so hard to not be the weak link. It wasn’t like I did anything supernatural or different to win this race. Every now and then the driver does something great to win the race, but the majority of the time it is the hard work and dedication of the crew. Those guys work so hard and I don’t think most fans understand just how hard they do work. I am happy for all my guys.”
In Funny Car, Pedregon powered past Courtney Force for his first victory of the season and the 31st of his career. Pedregon’s Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry finished in 4.173 at 298.40, while Force’s Traxxas Ford Mustang lost traction near mid-track and trailed with a 5.244 at 175.59.
There was a tense moment in the final round just after Pedregon’s burnout when his car wouldn’t go into reverse. His crew members pushed the car back to the starting line for the run.
“I’ve won a lot of races a lot of different ways, but today the consistency of this car impressed me and the quick turnaround time by my team made a big difference,” Pedregon said. “It was pretty challenging for me. Great credit goes to my team for pushing my car back and getting me into position for the run. I wouldn’t have wanted to hold Courtney up. She was a great opponent and she had me nervous. She kept us honest. We were pressing and trying to run a 4.10 or 4.12 in that round.”
Pedregon said he wasn’t sure what the problem was with the car after the final round burnout.
“I would expect the clutch clearances were a little too tight,” Pedregon said. “We have to work on those things as a team because of the quick turnaround time there are little things we need to clean up in our pit area and we will, but I don’t want to take anything away from the team. I am proud of what we did. This is an impressive win for us. It means a lot.”
Pedregon outran Gary Densham, Johnny Gray and Alexis DeJoria to advance to the final round. Like Schumacher, Pedregon says his team went to a conservative tune-up in the warm desert southwest weather conditions.
“We had to pull back a little bit,” Pedregon said. “We just raced the track and we were smart. You live and learn. Even though I am in love with the big numbers and setting records and low E.T., sometimes you have to take what you can get and race within yourself and that’s what we did today.”
With the runner-up finish Force moved back into the points lead and she is 14 ahead of Gray. Pedregon moves to third overall, 17 back of the leader.