NASCAR & Auto Racing

Schumacher wins again, puts still more distance on his challengers

MILLINGTON, Tenn. - Tony Schumacher increased his Top Fuel points lead after many Countdown contenders fell early Sunday in the O'Reilly NHRA Mid-South Nationals.

Tim Wilkerson, Mike Edwards and Craig Treble joined Schumacher in the winner's circle with three races remaining in the NHRA POWERade Series Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

Schumacher drove his Top Fuel dragster past Countdown contenders Rod Fuller, Doug Kalitta, Hillary Will and Doug Herbert en route to his 13th win of the season and second of the playoffs. Schumacher's final pass of 3.880 seconds at 309.91 mph was strong enough to earn the win and pad his points lead.

Wilkerson also faced some of the most difficult competition on the circuit en route to his sixth win of the year. He won a first-round matchup with Melanie Troxel before facing three of four John Force Racing entries that are all still alive in the playoffs, starting with John Force himself.

Wilkerson then defeated Robert Hight in the semifinals and beat No. 1 qualifier Ashley Force in the finals to maintain his points lead. Wilkerson is 4-1 against the younger Force in head-to-head meetings this year.

Wilkerson drove his Chevy Impala SS to a 4.166 run at 298.47.

Edwards kept his playoff hopes alive with his second win of the season. He drove his Pontiac GXP to a 6.702 at 207.27 around runner-up Jason Line. The win propelled Edwards from ninth to fifth in the point standings.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Crag Treble drove his Suzuki to a 6.985 run at 188.57. It was Treble's first win of the season in three final-round appearances and first win since joining Don Schumacher Racing.

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