READING, Pa. (Sept. 16) — Facing the most prolific Top Fuel racer of all-time, Tony Schumacher, an undaunted Scott Palmer and his CatSpot Organic Cat Litter Top Fuel dragster team gave their opponent all he could handle in a wild quarterfinal playoff race that was ultimately decided by dislodged body panels that temporarily blocked Palmer’s vision at 300-plus mph.
“That was wild,” Palmer said. “Some of the top body panels started coming off about 100 foot from the finish line. It started with one piece and then it just blew up like a bomb. The whole top — the windshield, the piece in front of the windshield, the piece beside me and a mud-flap all came off.
“The problem was, a body panel came over and was covering my helmet. I couldn’t see. There was no windshield. Also, a big piece of carbon fiber came in there with me and actually covered up the brake and wedged in the steering wheel. I couldn’t turn so I had to literally take my right hand and punch the body panel out of the frame rail so I could see where I was going and get to the brake. It was exciting to say the least.”
In the end, Schumacher eked out the victory by a scant three-thousandths of a second.
“What we were doing was, we went up there trying to win the round for once in our life instead of hoping somebody messed up, and we came pretty damn close,” Palmer said. “We raced the U.S. Army car and lost by three thousandths so we proved we’ve got a car that runs with all of them. That was a super close race.
“Before we rolled out I told everybody, ‘Jason McCulloch (tuner) is used to winning. For the first time, we are rolling up for second round not just hoping someone smokes the tires. We are rolling up there to win the second round against the U.S. Army car and we have a legitimate chance of doing it.’ And we came damn close.
“That’s a team with 10 full-time guys. Our guys go back home and work regular jobs. I think it’s pretty stout to run them like that. This is a pretty unbelievable team to get all of this done.”
To reach the second round and advance past Brittany Force in the championship points, Palmer had to take out part-time teammate Dom Lagana, who lost the race early when his Magic Dry 100% Organic Multi-Purpose Absorbent dragster shook its tires. Palmer went on to earn lane choice over Schumacher with a 3.820 at 327.11 mph.
“It sucked having to run our teammate in Round 1 but the good thing was one of us was able to move on,” Lagana said. “We ran really good numbers all weekend aside from having some freak things biting us. In Q2 it blew out a spark plug. In Q4 we split a burst panel. Today we just missed the tune up a little bit and we were weak. The clutch grabbed the motor and we smoked the tires. But it’s all good. That’s drag racing.”
While Lagana won’t race again until the second Charlotte race in mid-October, Palmer and crew need to repair the CatSpot dragster as quickly as possible to prepare for next weekend’s seventh annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals in St. Louis.
“We’re going to need to thrash to get this thing loaded up so we can leave tonight to head back to Brownsburg (Ind.) and get to the Lucas Racing shop so Richie Crampton and his guys can mount a new body on it,” Palmer said. “We’ll be ready no matter what it takes.”
About CatSpot Organic Cat Litter
CatSpot Organic Cat Litter is a chemical-free, all-natural, environmentally-friendly cat litter made entirely from coconut that completely absorbs ammonia to eliminate the smell found in conventional clay-based litters. It’s extremely lightweight, hypoallergenic and 100-percent dust-free with no clumping agents. CatSpot Organic Cat Litter also is biodegradable. Used litter can be repurposed in yards, flower beds or compost heaps. CatSpot Organic Cat Litter is proudly Made in the USA.
About Magic Dry 100% Organic Multi-Purpose Absorbent
Utilizing the all-natural, super-absorbency of coconut husks, Magic Dry 100% Organic Multi-Purpose Absorbent is the perfect solution to all kinds of liquid spills. Chemical-free and 100-percent environmentally friendly, the best absorbent ever is now available for sale in a variety of industrial, automotive and household sizes. Magic Dry is made in the heart of America at our facility in Sikeston, Missouri.