Charlotte: Tony Schumacher Saturday notes

"THE SARGE" TAKES THIRD STARTING SPOT CONCORD, N.C., September 19 - U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher secured the third starting position here Saturday during final qualifying for the Carolinas Nationals at zMax ...

"THE SARGE" TAKES THIRD STARTING SPOT

CONCORD, N.C., September 19 - U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher secured the third starting position here Saturday during final qualifying for the Carolinas Nationals at zMax Dragway.

Schumacher's effort set up a meeting with 14th-place qualifier, Clay Millican, for the first round of final eliminations on Sunday beginning at 12 noon ET.

"Race day is now here for the U.S. Army team," said the defending Carolinas Nationals champion. "We feel confident we can go out there tomorrow and take care of business."

Schumacher certainly took care of business in qualifying session number four when he posted a 3.848-second jaunt at 316.75 mph. It was the quickest of the round and just four-thousandths of a second off of Larry Dixon's pole-winning elapsed time.

"That was a terrific way to end qualifying right there," he added. "The car is really responding to what we're asking it to do and that's always a good thing. We're looking forward to even greater things on Sunday."

This will be the second time this year Schumacher and Millican have squared off in eliminations. The Chicago-area resident beat Millican in the quarterfinals at Englishtown, N.J. back in June.

"Clay is a great driver and we'll have to make sure we're up on the wheel to beat him," said Schumacher. "Now that we're into the playoffs, every round of racing is going to be so important."

Schumacher is hoping to kick off the Countdown to 1 in impressive fashion with a second straight win at zMax Dragway. The North Carolina stop is the first of four straight race weekends for the NHRA tour.

"We're going to find out real quick over these next four weeks who the serious players are," he said. "Obviously, I'm counting on my U.S. Army team to be one of the top challengers the rest of the way."

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Clay Millican , Larry Dixon , Tony Schumacher