As the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship gets underway, NHRA reporter Lewis Bloom takes a look back at one of the most dramatic moments in NHRA history: “The Run,” made by Tony Schumacher to win the 2006 Top Fuel championship.
Considered one of the great comebacks in NHRA drag racing history, not only did Schumacher have to win the race and set the national elapsed time record (which at the time earned a driver an extra 20 points), he also needed a few things to fall his way in the final round of the 2006 Auto Club NHRA Finals.
Schumacher and tuner Alan Johnson already held the record at 4.437 seconds entering the event, so they had to run quicker than that but not so quick that they would not have the required back up at the time of 1 percent from their earlier passes, leaving them a very narrow window of performance.
In a quintessential moment that rivals any other in sports history, Schumacher not only won the final over Melanie Troxel, but ran 4.428 seconds to set the record and win the championship. When he crossed the finish line at Auto Club Raceway it was the first time all season Schumacher had led the points, earning him the championship.