CONCORD, N.C. — In one of the biggest upsets of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, 14th-qualifier Cameron Ferre upset U.S. Nationals winner and eight-time Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher in the opening round of final eliminations on Sunday.
While Schumacher left the line first with an .085 reaction time to Ferre’s .089 light, ‘The Sarge’ smoked the tires at about half-track and slowed as Ferre powered past, with a 4.138 second run at 226.73 mph enough for the round win in his Top Fuel debut.
“It’s unbelievable,” a giddy Ferre said on the top end. “Tony Schumacher is the best Top Fuel driver in the world and to be racing him (on Sunday) is insane. I’m super excited and I can’t believe we just pulled that off. This just goes to show you that a little boy with a surfboard from Huntington Beach, California can chase his dreams.”
“I have been dreaming of this opportunity since I was nine years old, and it has been one heck of a journey to get to this moment. Words can’t describe what I’m feeling right now. I hope this is just the first of more, but right now I couldn’t be happier. This is awesome. I can’t wait to keep going.”
Ferré, 31, captured his first national championship in the Jr. Drag Racing League back in 2002, competing against many of the young professionals in the sport now such as Shawn Langdon, Erica Enders, and Leah Pritchett. Ferré made the move into the Sportsman ranks, initially in Super Comp, where he was able to pick up a national event win at the Auto Club NHRA in 2012.
As a competitor in the Alcohol Dragster ranks, he drove Miersch’s dragster to a runner-up finish at last year’s Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals.
Other major upsets in the opening round of Top Fuel included Pat Dakin’s defeat of No. 6 qualifier J.R. Todd and Wayne Newby’s knockout of No. 5 Shawn Langdon.
Paton Family Racing contributed to this story.
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Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
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