Skip to content

Track speed marks fall as Route 66 Raceway becomes one of fastest on NHRA circuit

Jul 1, 2013, 6:00 PM EDT

NHRA Top Fuel driver Tony Schumacher celebrates after winning Sunday at blazing-fast Route 66 Raceway in suburban Chicago. NHRA Top Fuel driver Tony Schumacher celebrates after winning Sunday at blazing-fast Route 66 Raceway in suburban Chicago.

When Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., opened in 1998, it was considered state of the art, the first National Hot Rod Association racetrack with surround, bowl-like seating.

During this past weekend’s record-breaking O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals presented by Super Start Batteries, the suburban Chicago track became one of the fastest racetracks on the NHRA circuit.

Numerous track speed records were set over the four-day event. Most notable were four Funny Car drivers that covered the 1,000-foot racing surface in under four seconds for the first time in track history: Ron Capps (3.988 seconds at 320.28 mph), along with Bob Tasca III (3.988, 316.97), Jack Beckman (3.983, 319.52) and Del Worsham (3.999, 318.99).

Other notable achievements included:

* 15-time Funny Car champ John Force posted his best Route 66 career time of 4.010 seconds at 316.67 mph.

* Morgan Lucas set a track record for Top Fuel qualifying on Saturday (3.737 seconds at 322.19 mph)

* Steve Edwards set a track record in Pro Stock at 6.542 seconds at 210.64 mph, his 10th No. 1 qualifying position of the season.

Rain was an impediment at times during the weekend, but not an insurmountable obstacle as hometown favorite Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock) and Michael Ray (Pro Stock Motorcycle) won their respective categories in Sunday’s final eliminations.

Of particular note was Schumacher’s winning finish, the 72nd NHRA event win of his career. Rather than wait to see if the track would have a post-race fireworks display, Schumacher wound up giving an impromptu one of his own.

No sooner did he cross the finish line to win the Top Fuel event, the 8,000-horsepower motor in Schumacher’s dragster exploded in a fiery blast. While neither he nor anyone else was injured, it provided one of those “ooh, aah” moments that put a memorable cap on the event.

“It’s always great to have a hometown win here in Chicago,” said Schumacher of his fourth career win at Route 66, and which also put him back atop the Mello Yello Series Top Fuel season standings.

Schumacher was especially concerned that Millican was so hungry for his first career Top Fuel win.

“When you look back in Top Fuel history, whenever anybody gets their first win, it’s against me,” Schumacher said. “But I told myself today that this is not going to be an ongoing trait. We’re going to stop it right here and now. I don’t care when or if Clay wins a race, but just not today. Not here at my home track.”

The NHRA continues this coming weekend with the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Norwalk, Ohio, from July 4-7.

Latest Posts
  1. COTA weekend thoughts and observations: FIA WEC

    Sep 22, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

    GDriveSMPCOTA AP

    The FIA WEC headed to Texas this weekend. Here are some thoughts on how it went down.

  2. COTA weekend thoughts and observations: IMSA

    Sep 22, 2014, 11:15 AM EDT

    IMSACota Getty Images

    Both the TUDOR Championship and Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge put on a show in Austin this weekend.

  3. FIA WEC: Another Audi win at COTA

    Sep 22, 2014, 10:21 AM EDT

    Le Mans 24h Race Getty Images

    Audi 1-2 leads FIA WEC winners at COTA.

  4. Can Hamilton take this momentum all the way to Abu Dhabi?

    Sep 22, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

    Singapore F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    Reliability woes have left Nico Rosberg reeling. If he doesn’t respond at Suzuka, it could be game over.

  5. Rosberg: I felt helpless in Singapore (VIDEO)

    Sep 22, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    Singapore F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    German driver does well to keep his anger in check in his post-race video blog.

  6. Force India owner heaps praise on Sergio Perez after Singapore fightback

    Sep 22, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    Singapore F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    Vijay Mallya delighted as Force India makes 2014 its most successful season since entering F1 back in 2008.

  7. Singapore GP Weekend: All Posts, One Place

    Sep 22, 2014, 7:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Singapore Getty Images

    Lewis Hamilton has put himself back in control of the 2014 F1 world championship after a great win in Singapore as teammate Nico Rosberg retired.

  8. Red Bull GRC: Rhys Millen wins Race 2 in L.A.; Ken Block takes championship lead

    Sep 21, 2014, 8:43 PM EDT

    GRCLogo

    Millen scores his second win of 2014, while YouTube icon Block takes an 18-point lead in the championship with two races left in the season.

  9. Schumacher (TF), C. Force (FC), Connolly (PS), Hines (PSM) are NHRA winners at Texas

    Sep 21, 2014, 7:51 PM EDT

    (Photo courtesy NHRA) (Photo courtesy NHRA)

    Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel), Courtney Force (Funny Car), Dave Connolly (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were the winners in Sunday’s final rounds of the NHRA FallNationals in Ennis, Texas.

  10. Kyle Larson steady at New Hampshire in runner-up effort

    Sep 21, 2014, 7:00 PM EDT

    Sylvania 300 - Practice Getty Images

    The talented rookie continues to duel with the Chasers at New Hampshire before finishing second to Joey Logano.

  11. Chase’s version of musical chairs: nine drivers to battle for five advancement spots at Dover

    Sep 21, 2014, 6:36 PM EDT

    Aric Almirola was much happier at Loudon, with a sixth-place finish Sunday. But he's still ranked last in the Chase chances with one race left to stave off elimination. (Photo: Sean Gardner/Getty Images) Getty Images

    As the Chase for the Sprint Cup moves to Dover for next Sunday’s third race of the playoffs, nine drivers will be fighting elimination by vying for five advancement spots there.

  12. Keselowski overcomes adversity to still finish 7th, maintains Chase points lead

    Sep 21, 2014, 6:09 PM EDT

    (Photo: Will Schneekloth/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Brad Keselowski started from the pole, led the second-most number of laps in the race (78), overcame a late wreck and still almost won Sunday’s Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

  13. Harvick comes up short of Chase win, but continues run of great consistency

    Sep 21, 2014, 5:49 PM EDT

    (Photo: Jerry Markland/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Prior to last week’s opening race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup, Kevin Harvick said it would take wins and uncanny consistency to advance to the final four, winner-take-all battle in the season-ending race at Homestead.

  14. Joey Logano avoids “yellow fever,” wins at N.H. to advance in Chase

    Sep 21, 2014, 5:36 PM EDT

    GoBowling.com 400 - Practice Getty Images

    The Connecticut native joins Penske teammate Brad Keselowski in the Contender Round with his victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

  15. Another Chaser finds trouble in N.H., and this time, it’s Matt Kenseth

    Sep 21, 2014, 5:13 PM EDT

    Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 - Practice Getty Images

    Kenseth was running in the Top 10, when Paul Menard washed up into him and sent him spinning into the wall with 31 laps to go at New Hampshire.

  16. Kurt Busch wrecks, yet another Chase driver to suffer problems at New Hampshire

    Sep 21, 2014, 4:38 PM EDT

    (Photo: Will Schneekloth/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Kurt Busch had a tire rub on his Haas Automation Chevrolet when the right front tire appeared to blow on Lap 222 of the 300-lap Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, sending him hard into the wall and suffering right front end damage.

  17. Wreck involves several Chase drivers; Keselowski spins, suffers minor damage

    Sep 21, 2014, 4:20 PM EDT

    (Photo: Will Schneekloth/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Several drivers in the Chase for the Sprint Cup suffered damage to their respective race cars in a wreck that involved Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne and Ryan Newman with just over 100 laps to go in Sunday’s Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

  18. UPDATE: Denny Hamlin’s bad day at New Hampshire gets worse with Lap 180 crash

    Sep 21, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

    (Photo: Jerry Markland/Getty Images) Getty Images

    4 p.m. ET – Already several laps down, Hamlin was caught in a multi-car crash that also involved Martin Truex Jr., David Ragan, and Cole Whitt.

  19. Kevin Harvick is halfway leader at Loudon, Denny Hamlin suffers strange mishap

    Sep 21, 2014, 3:42 PM EDT

    (Photo: Jerry Markland/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Kevin Harvick is the halfway leader of Sunday’s Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Joey Logano is running second, followed by Jeff Gordon, Brian Vickers and Jamie McMurray.

  20. Safety car period costs Alonso possible podium finish

    Sep 21, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

    Singapore F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    Spanish driver still pleased with the race weekend in Singapore, feeling that Ferrari has made a step forwards.

Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. B. Keselowski (1909)
  2. J. Gordon (1317)
  3. K. Harvick (1274)
  4. M. Crafton (1052)
  5. K. Busch (1011)