LAS VEGAS - It hasn't been the best start to the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season for seven-time Top Fuel world champion Tony Schumacher. But there's no better place for Schumacher to turn his season around than at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for this weekend's 15th annual NHRA Nationals.

Schumacher may hail from Chicago but he has made himself at home when the NHRA visits Las Vegas. He leads all Top Fuel drivers with seven victories at The Strip, including last year's NHRA Nationals.

The personable Schumacher is at a loss, however, to explain his dominance in Las Vegas.

"I wish I had the answer because I'd bottle it up and sell it," Schumacher said. "There's just no answer. Why haven't we ever won at Atlanta? Or why have we won the U.S. Nationals nine times at Indy, and that's the hardest race in the world?"

The timing of the two Las Vegas events - the fourth race of the year and the penultimate race of the season - may have something to do with the success Schumacher has enjoyed here.

"(The NHRA Nationals) is early in the year when there's pressure and (the fall race is) the next-to-last race when we've had to do well to either clinch the championship or get into position to do it the next race at Pomona," he said.

Schumacher would like to rekindle some of that Las Vegas magic this weekend. He opened the season with a first-round loss at Pomona and followed with a pair of second-round losses at Phoenix and Gainesville. He comes into this weekend's NHRA Nationals ranked eighth in Top Fuel points, 163 points behind front-running Doug Kalitta.

Schumacher became the first driver in NHRA history to win six consecutive Top Fuel world championships when he ran the table from 2004 to 2009. He also won the title in 1999. He has finished second, fifth, second and seventh in points the past four seasons.

The 15th annual NHRA Nationals begin Friday with pro qualifying sessions at 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. The final two qualifying sessions will be at 1:10 and 4:50 p.m. Saturday, with Pro Stock runs for the K&N Horsepower Challenge at 1, 3:45 and 4:45 p.m. Saturday. Final eliminations are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Sunday.

For tickets and additional information, please call LVMS at (702) 644-4444 or visit

Schedule for the NHRA Nationals

Friday, March 28

7:30 a.m. - Spectator gates open.

8 a.m. - Sportsman qualifying.

10:30 a.m. - Comp Eliminator qualifying.

Noon - Top Alcohol qualifying.

1:30 p.m. - Pro Stock qualifying.

2 p.m. - Top Fuel Dragster and Funny Car qualifying.

4:30 p.m. - Pro Stock qualifying.

5 p.m. - Top Fuel Dragster and Funny Car qualifying. 6:30 p.m. - Jet dragsters

Saturday, March 29

7:30 a.m. - Spectator gates open.

8 a.m. - Sportsman eliminations.

10 a.m. - Comp Eliminator qualifying.

10:30 a.m. - Top Alcohol qualifying.

Noon - Comp Eliminator

1:10 p.m. - Pro Stock qualifying.

1:30 p.m. - Top Fuel Dragster and Funny Car qualifying.

2:45 a.m. - Top Alcohol eliminations.

3:50 p.m. - Pro Stock qualifying.

4:15 p.m. - Top Fuel Dragster and Funny Car qualifying.

5:30 p.m. - Jet dragsters

Sunday, March 30

7:30 a.m. - Spectator gates open.

8 a.m. - Sportsman eliminations.

10 a.m. - Pre-race ceremonies.

11 a.m. - Final eliminations begin.