JOLIET, Ill. (AP) - Tony Schumacher's engine exploded in a fireball Sunday as he crossed the finish line to win the Route 66 NHRA Nationals.
Schumacher, the seven-time season champion from nearby Long Grove, raced to his third victory of the season and the 72nd of his career. He finished in 3.930 seconds at 269.29 mph to hold off Clay Millican and regain the season points lead.
``It's always great to have a hometown win here in Chicago,'' Schumacher said after his fourth victory at track south of Chicago. ``It was a great day for Don Schumacher Racing with another double-up (Matt Hagan's Funny Car win). This is 37 times that we've done that, and it was personally gratifying with all the friends I had here this weekend.''
Hagan extended his Funny Car series lead with his third win of the season, edging 64-year-old John Force at the finish line. Hagan's Dodge Charger posted a 4.605 at 315.34, while Force's Ford Mustang finished in 4.113 at 304.80.
Jeg Coughlin topped the Pro Stock field, and Michael Ray won in Pro Stock Motorcycle.
In Pro Stock, Coughlin raced to his second win of the season and fifth at Route 66 Raceway when he drove his Dodge Avenger away from final round opponent Greg Anderson. Coughlin covered the distance in 6.603 at 209.85, while Anderson's Chevy Camaro lost traction near mid-track. It was Coughlin's 54th career victory.
Ray earned his second win of the season and third of his career in Pro Stock Motorcycle, beating former teammate Matt Smith in the final round. Ray used a near-perfect reaction time and powered his Buell to a 6.986 at 191.29 to hold off Smith's charging Buell, which finished in 6.992 at 190.22.