Charlotte: Tony Schumacher Saturday notes

SCHUMACHER TO START NINTH CONCORD, N.C., September 13 - After not making the show on Friday, U.S. Army Top Fuel driver, Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher, sprinted into the Carolinas Nationals field here Saturday during final qualifying at zMax ...

SCHUMACHER TO START NINTH

CONCORD, N.C., September 13 - After not making the show on Friday, U.S. Army Top Fuel driver, Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher, sprinted into the Carolinas Nationals field here Saturday during final qualifying at zMax Dragway.

The five-time POWERade world champion claimed the ninth starting spot with a 3.879-second run at 306.19 mph and thus will face eighth-place qualifier, David Grubnic, in the first round of eliminations on Sunday beginning at 12 noon ET.

"I never had a doubt that my U.S. Army team would take care of business today," said Schumacher. "We were the quickest in both sessions and that's critical going into race day. We'll be ready to rock come tomorrow."

With his ninth-place showing, Schumacher will not have lane choice in what will likely be the opening race of the day.

"I'm not sure that really makes a difference," he offered. "Both lanes seem to be pretty equal. No matter what lane they put us in, we'll just have to deal with it. As usual, I have a tremendous amount of confidence in my team and crew chief (Alan Johnson)." The Chicago-area resident arrived in North Carolina riding a six-race winning streak. He'd like to make it seven-in-a-row at the first event of the Countdown to One.

"It's a must that we get off to a solid start in the playoffs," he said. "You don't want to suddenly dig yourself a hole with a bad performance in the opening race." In addition to contending for his 12th victory of the year, Schumacher will also be looking to set the NHRA standard for most Top Fuel career wins. Presently, he's tied with Joe Amato at 52 wins.

"To be honest, I'm not thinking about that record at all," he said. "My only focus is on the match up with Grubnic. Nothing else is on my radar screen right now."

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Schumacher , Joe Amato , David Grubnic