Schumacher, Pedregon, Coughlin And Smith Win World Championship Crowns

POMONA, Calif. — Tony Schumacher and Matt Smith needed wins in the final round
of Sunday’s 43rd annual Auto Club of Southern California NHRA Finals to clinch
Countdown to the Championship titles in the POWERade Drag Racing Series. New
Funny Car champion Tony Pedregon sweated it out until the semifinals before
securing his second crown, while Jeg Coughlin wrapped up his third Pro Stock title in
the quarterfinals.

For the second year in a row, Schumacher waited until the final pass of the season to
steal the title away, this time from “Hot Rod” Fuller. He defeated Bob Vandergriff with
the quickest pass of the race, a 4.486 at 328.30 mph. Robert Hight beat fill-in
teammate Phil Burkart in the Funny Car final when Burkart’s car lost traction 200
feet out.

In Pro Stock, Coughlin punctuated his title with his 38th career win, this one over
first-time finalist Justin Humphreys. Smith beat fellow Buell rider Chip Ellis in the Pro
Stock Motorcycle final.

Schumacher becomes the first Top Fuel racer to win four championships in a row
with his second Cinderella finish in as many years. Entering this weekend in fourth
place and needing help on many fronts, Schumacher danced his way through to the
final in his U.S. Army dragster and blistered Vandergriff’s UPS dragster 4.486 to
4.681 to win his fifth POWERade championship by just 19 points.

“After the second round it was like d

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