Baytown: Tony Schumacher preview

SCHUMACHER LIKES VIEW FROM THE TOP BAYTOWN, Tex., March 25 - Off to his best start since the 2004 season, U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher will look to solidify his hold on first-place in the standings here this weekend in...

SCHUMACHER LIKES VIEW FROM THE TOP

BAYTOWN, Tex., March 25 - Off to his best start since the 2004 season, U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher will look to solidify his hold on first-place in the standings here this weekend in the O'Reilly Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park.

Schumacher, who already has two wins to his credit in '08, heads for HRP with a 52-point cushion over Larry Dixon.

"We're pleased that we've started off the way we have," said the five-time world champion. "This is so different than in recent years when we've struggled early but rallied late."

To be sure, Schumacher is not complaining about his launch out of the gate. In fact, it's exactly the same path that he took in 2004 when he posted wins in Pomona, Calif. and Gainesville, Fla., along with a semifinal round advancement in Phoenix.

"Now, that's pretty strange," he added. "From what I've been told we're only five points different this year than in 2004 (310 points through three races in 2004 versus 305 points in 2008). Of course, I hope that we stay that hot the rest of the way." The Chicago native is hoping to have a shot at a class record sixth career title, which would break Joe Amato's mark of five championships (1984, 1988, 1990-1992).

"Man, we've got a long road ahead before that becomes a consideration," he said. "While we've been going rounds and winning races so far, we're still not running as good as we should be. I would love for us to really step it up this weekend in Houston." Schumacher's visits to HRP have been productive over the years. He captured the 2005 event, while recording four other final round appearances. Additionally, he holds the track record for speed at 335.32 mph set in '05.

"It's a neat track," he said. "They've had a lot of record-setting performances there since it opened back in the 1980's. I recall Dixon recording the sport's first 4.4- second run in 1999.

"We just want to go down there and win another race for our soldiers. I love driving for the U.S. Army because I get to represent the strongest all-volunteer fighting force in the world. You can't get any better than that."

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Tony Schumacher , Joe Amato