Gatornationals final rounds set


In the saga of long-overdue Top Fuel racers, Morgan Lucas and Tony Schumacher will meet in an effort not just to beat each other but to shake some big monkeys from their backs.


Lucas posted a wire-to-wire victory in the GEICO/Lucas Oil Dragster over the slow-starting Doug Kalitta, thanks to a .042-second reaction time against a decidedly late .101. As No. 1 qualifier who in the quarterfinals Sunday recorded the third-quickest elapsed time in Top Fuel's 1,000-foot era, is poised to race for his first victory in 24 races. His most recent victory came at the 2011 Winternationals.

Two-time Gatornationals winner Kalitta was going for his first final-round appearance in 29 races, since the 2010 fall event at Charlotte and was seeking his first victory in 32 races, since his July 2010 triumph at Denver.

Lucas won with a 3.746-second pass at 321.50. Kalitta ran a 3.789-second elapsed time, his career best, at 320.89 in the Kalitta Air Dragster.

Schumacher advanced to his second straight final round and another chance to silence any U.S. Army Dragster doubters. Will he end his 25-race winless streak? His chance comes at Shawn Langdon's expense, as Langdon smokes the Al-Anabi / Toyota Dragster tires early in the run.

Schumacher went on to win in 3.791 seconds at 320.97, while Langdon slowed to 11.048, 69.73. Langdon was making his second straight semifinal appearance in three races this season and was aiming for his first final round since the Charlotte Four-wide race last season and his first in a traditional setting since the 2011 Winternationals.

Lucas has lane choice in the final round.

Robert Hight, with a strong 4.044-second, 315.19-mph effort, is John Force racing's lone hope for a lock on every Funny Car race-win so far this year. He advanced to his second final in a row as opponent Jack Beckman jumped the gun at the starting line in the Don Schumacher racing NextGen Valvoline entry. That broke their 11-11 deadlock in head-to-head competition.

Hight will face Johnny Gray, who denied Hight teammate Mike Neff a third consecutive final round this season. Gray ran his quickest elapsed time this year, a 4.054-second pass at 314.61 mph to Neff's 4.083, 311.92.

In Pro Stock, Chris McGaha's fairy-tale weekend came to a halt in the semifinals. He shut off the engine early with mechanical trouble and coasted to a disappointing 14.115-second, 59.50 effort against veteran Greg Anderson, who ran like a bracket racer. Anderson posted a 6.50-second pass, matching his Round 1 E.T.

He'll face Mike Edwards, who came out Monday with his best run of eliminations: 6.521 -- losing lane choice in the final to Anderson by a thousandth of a second. Against Edwards, Ronnie Humphrey's Hot Rod Hardware entry wiggled a bit at the start of his run and prevented him from racing brother-in-law Anderson in the showdown.

Eddie Krawiec didn't get to impress Willie G. Davidson, of Harley-Davidson fame, with a 200-mph run in the semifinal, but he and Vance & Hines Screamin' Eagle teammate Andrew Hines put the Harley V-Rods into the final round.

Krawiec (6.767, 198.64) defeated Matt Smith, and Hines (6.781, 197.39) took advantage of Hector Arana Jr.'s mechanical problem to reach the final.

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