Indy ORP: Tony Schumacher Sunday notes

"THE SARGE" CLAIMS SIXTH STARTING SPOT INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., August 31 - Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher, who pilots the U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster, banked the sixth starting position here Sunday during final qualifying for the Mac Tools U.S....

"THE SARGE" CLAIMS SIXTH STARTING SPOT

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., August 31 - Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher, who pilots the U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster, banked the sixth starting position here Sunday during final qualifying for the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at O'Reilly Raceway Park.

Schumacher, who entered Sunday's action not in the field, recorded the quickest pass in each qualifying session and thus moved comfortably into the top half of the order. The Chicago-area resident will square off with 11th-place qualifier, Bob Vandergriff, Jr., in the opening round of eliminations beginning at 11 a.m. ET.

"The U.S. Army team performed brilliantly today," said the defending NHRA POWERade world champion. "Not being qualified, we sort of had our backs against the wall, but in true form we came out battling. I really like our chances tomorrow." Schumacher will be shooting for his 11th victory of the season and a seventh U.S. Nationals title. Additionally, he'll be attempting to tie Joe Amato's Top Fuel career victories record.

"We ran pretty well today while fighting some hot temperatures," he said. "It appears tomorrow's weather will be quite similar, so we should have a pretty tested set up for the car. I'm looking forward to race day."

Schumacher is hoping to use a positive result at the U.S. Nationals as a springboard into the upcoming Countdown to One phase of the Countdown to the Championship. The playoffs begin in Charlotte, N.C., September 11-14.

"With our huge lead being reduced to just 30 points after this race, we definitely need to keep up the pace that we've set to this point," he added. "The only way to accomplish that is by going out and winning here in Indy."

Should Schumacher capture the 54th version of the NHRA's most prestigious race, he would set the record for most Top Fuel wins in a single season as well as the record for most consecutive victories (6).

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Schumacher , Joe Amato