SCHUMACHER READY FOR SECOND HALF OF SEASON; SUPPORTS DECISION TO SHORTEN RACING DISTANCE MORRISON, Colo., July 8 - After enjoying a little "R&R" during the recent holiday weekend, U.S. Army Top Fuel driver, Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher, will ...
SCHUMACHER READY FOR SECOND HALF OF SEASON; SUPPORTS DECISION TO SHORTEN RACING DISTANCE
MORRISON, Colo., July 8 - After enjoying a little "R&R" during the recent holiday weekend, U.S. Army Top Fuel driver, Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher, will jump into the second half of the 2008 drag racing season here this weekend in the Mopar Mile- High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway just outside of Denver.
Like his fellow competitors, Schumacher will immediately face a challenge of sorts in having to mentally prepare for racing to 1,000 feet instead of the traditional 1,320 feet or one-quarter mile.
Last week, the NHRA announced that beginning with the Mopar Mile-High Nationals both the Top Fuel and Funny Car classes will race to 1,000 feet, which is in direct response to the ongoing investigation of the tragic accident that took the life of Funny Car pilot Scott Kalitta last month.
"I think it's great," said Schumacher about the rule change. "The NHRA needs time to fully evaluate and analyze what happened with Scott's crash. Until there are some clear, definitive findings, we need to do this."
The defending NHRA POWERade world champion believes fans will still see a great show despite the shortened distance.
"No question about it," he added. "In fact, there may be better side-by-side racing. I guarantee you that the sights and sounds of nitro racing will still be there." The new rule aside, Schumacher will be eager to add to his season win total out in Colorado. After posting five victories over the first half of the campaign, he holds a commanding 253-point lead in the standings.
"The key for us over the next six races, specifically, will be to keep building momentum so we can go into the Countdown to One phase of the playoffs on solid footing," he added. "We've certainly done well to this point, but we want to make it really count beginning with the Charlotte (N.C.) race in September."
In 2008, Schumacher is shooting for his fifth straight world title and the sixth of his career, which would be a Top Fuel record. Joe Amato captured five Top Fuel crowns between 1984 and 1992.
Additionally, Schumacher is attempting to pass Amato on the all-time Top Fuel career victories list. With 46 wins, Schumacher stands just six short of tying Amato's mark.
"Listen, we're racing for our Soldiers, not for records," he offered. "Simply stated, we want to win races and championships for them. This program is all about properly representing those brave men and women who protect our freedom on a daily basis."