Schumacher fined $100,000 for 'unapproved' nitro fuel

Don Schumacher Racing was fined $100,000 early Sunday afternoon for possessing unapproved nitromethane fuel in his pit area during the NHRA Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

All NHRA teams are required to get the highly volatile fuel from NHRA supplier VP Racing Fuels during NHRA Powerade Drag Racing Series events.

Schumacher said the fuel was left over from testing at the speedway in October. He said it had been securely stored "somewhere in Las Vegas" before being delivered to one of his pit areas on Friday where it was to be used during testing today at the track.

Among Schumacher's teams are two Top Fuel dragsters and three Funny Cars. He also imports nitro from China through his Pro Nitro business based in Brownsburg, Ind.

He said he will appeal the penalty.

Control of nitro -- which helps propel Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars to 330 mph -- came under scrutiny after Timothy McVeigh used it with ammonium nitrate in 1995 to blow up the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City.

McVeigh bought 55-gallon barrels of nitro at the Texas Motorplex near Dallas that hosts an NHRA event.

Nitro is the lifeblood of NHRA's top two categories and Graham Light, the senior vice president of racing operations for organization, said VP Racing is used because it best coordinates how it handles the fuel through Homeland Security. VP also is NHRA's exclusive distributor of alcohol and racing gasoline at NHRA divisional and national events.

• LOCALS -- Roger Kato of Las Vegas advanced the furthest among Southern Nevada racers.

Kato, 53, went five rounds before losing in the semifinals of Super Gas when he left the starting line too soon and lit the red light that signaled his disqualification. ...

Las Vegas resident Rod Fuller lost in the first round of Top Fuel. ...

Duane Shields of Boulder City recorded a red-light foul for the first time driving a Top Alcohol Dragster and lost in Saturday night's first round.

• SPORTSMAN -- Winners in Sportsman categories were: Jeff Isbell of Salt Lake City, Top Alcohol Dragster; Jay Payne of Claremont, Calif., Top Alcohol Funny Car; Lou Ficco of Wheatridge, Colo., Competition; Greg Luneack of Vista, Calif., Super Stock; John Shaul of Fultonham, N.Y., Stock; and Randy Ballough of Newbury Park, Calif., Super Gas.