NASCAR & Auto Racing

Bartone wins in Funny Car for 1st NHRA victory

KENT, Wash. -- Tony Bartone raced to his first NHRA victory Sunday in Funny Car at the Schuck's Auto Supply NHRA Nationals after more than six years of professional racing.

After a shaky first half of the season that included six DNQs, Bartone defeated Ron Capps, who was also trying to break out of a winless streak that dates to 2007 at Richmond.

Bartone powered his Chevy Monte Carlo to a 4.454-second pass at 238.17 mph to get the long-awaited win, while Capps posted a 4.708 at 227.46 in his Dodge Charger R/T.

Tony Schumacher, in Top Fuel, and Jason Line, in Pro Stock, also were winners at scenic Pacific Raceways during the 14th of 24 events in the NHRA series.

Before beating Capps in the final, Bartone outran Gary Scelzi, Mike Neff and Tony Pedregon in earlier rounds.

A standout in the Lucas Oil Series, the developmental league for NHRA pros, Bartone won 25 events and one world championship title in Top Alcohol Funny Car in the 1990s.

"This is what you dream about," he said. "This is what you wait your whole career to do, is win in the pro ranks. It's the old adage — you never say die, you never give up, you keep plugging and things like this happen."

Despite losing in the first round to No. 1 qualifier Robert Hight, Tim Wilkerson maintained his points lead and earned his spot in the Countdown to the Championship.

Schumacher won his third consecutive event at Pacific Raceways, and his fourth in five at the track. He had already qualified No. 1 with a solid performance Friday and handily won in the final round, driving his U.S. Army dragster to a 3.902 at 309.98 to Brandon Bernstein's 4.056 at 291.19.

Schumacher is the first driver to clinch his position in the Countdown to the Championship in Denver last week. He could also become the sixth driver in NHRA history to sweep the Western Swing with a victory at the FRAM-Autolite NHRA Nationals next weekend at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.

Only Joe Amato, John Force, Cory McClenathan, Larry Dixon and Greg Anderson have accomplished the feat.

In Pro Stock, Line earned his second win of the season and the 15th of his career, charting a 6.659-second run at 208.10 mph in his Summit Racing Pontiac GXP to top Allen Johnson's 6.664 at 207.78 mph in his Team Mopar/J&J Racing Dodge Stratus.