NASCAR & Auto Racing

Schumacher leads Top Fuel qualifying

DINWIDDIE, Va. - Points leader Tony Schumacher blistered the Virginia Motorsports Park track Friday with a 3.771-second run at 317.05 mph to earn the provisional No. 1 qualifying spot in Top Fuel.

Mike Neff (Funny Car) and Dave Connolly (Pro Stock) rounded out the provisional No. 1 qualifiers at the 22nd of 24 races this season and the fourth race in the six-race NHRA Playoff, the Countdown to 1.

Schumacher, who enters the weekend with a 166-point lead over Cory McClenathan, is trying to clinch his fifth straight and sixth overall season title.

"That's as Army strong as it gets. That's a pretty stout run," said Schumacher, who is bidding for his seventh No. 1 of 2008 and the 54th of his career for the U.S. Army team.

Neff hammered his Ford Mustang down the track in at 4.041 seconds at 304.80 mph to earn the provisional top spot in Funny Car. The No. 1 would be the second for one of the favorites to win the 2008 Auto Club Road to the Future award.

For Connolly, if his 6.574 at 209.07 holds up Saturday, it would be his third No. 1 qualifier of the season and the eighth of his career. Connolly entered the weekend in sixth place, 94 points behind Jeg Coughlin.

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