By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Top Fuel Dragsters return to the drag strip this weekend at the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by ProtecttheHarvest.com. Racing will begin on Friday and last through Sunday’s eliminations at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California.
While many of the Top Fuel Dragsters are the same from last year, one of their biggest stars will not be participating. This will be the first-time in over two decades that Tony Schumacher has not raced at the Winternationals.
The former U.S. Army sponsored Top Fuel Dragster pilot lost his sponsorship at the end of November once the 2018 season concluded. Since that time, we have been informed at least two potential deals fell through, including one reportedly with a tech company in January.
While Schumacher is not racing, he said he will still be at the property this weekend.
Without Schumacher, there will be a new addition in Austin Prock. The son of John Force Racing tuner Jimmy Prock will make his debut piloting the Montana Brand/Rocky Mountain Twist Top Fuel Dragster.
Prock received his Top Fuel Dragster license this winter and tested his Dragster last weekend at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, Arizona.
Schumacher has six career wins at the facility. He is tied with “Big Daddy” Don Garlits, who also has six wins at the NHRA season-opener event.
On Friday, the nitro qualifying will start at 3:30 pm EST/12:30 pm PST. The night nitro session will kick off at 6 pm EST/3 pm PST.
The nitro qualifying session No. 3 will start at 3:30 pm EST/12:30 pm PST on Saturday. Their final qualifying session will take place at 7 pm EST/4 pm PST.
Sunday eliminations will begin at 2 pm EST/11 am PST.
Doug Kalitta will attempt to win back-to-back Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by ProtecttheHarvest.com events. When Kalitta won this event, it was his first — and only — win of the 2018 season.