Joliet: Tony Schumacher preview

JOLIET, Ill., June 3 - U.S. Army Top Fuel driver, Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher, will play a home game here this weekend when the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series arrives at Route 66 Raceway for the Torco Racing Fuels Route 66 Nationals. A...

JOLIET, Ill., June 3 - U.S. Army Top Fuel driver, Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher, will play a home game here this weekend when the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series arrives at Route 66 Raceway for the Torco Racing Fuels Route 66 Nationals.

A resident of the Chicago area, Schumacher will also take part in the U.S. Army's celebration of its 233rd birthday at the track on Saturday.

"For sure, it's going to be a big weekend for us," said the Top Fuel point leader. "We'll certainly have plenty of family and friends on hand throughout and, of course, we'll have a number of folks from the U.S. Army in attendance for the birthday celebration.

"The Army's 233rd birthday is really a great time for all of us to reflect on the sacrifices our Soldiers have made in winning and protecting America's freedom in the ongoing global war on terrorism."

The defending POWERade world champion heads into round 10 of the 24-race NHRA tour coming off a second round loss in Topeka last weekend. He holds a 109- point advantage over second-place, Antron Brown, in the standings.

"Last Sunday was probably the first time all season that we've had what I would call a not so great outing," he related. "We smoked the tires in both the first round and second round. However, to be fair, the track out there was real challenging with the hot weather."

The Topeka weather may have been a preview of what's to come in Joliet this weekend. Temperatures are predicted to soar to into the 90's by race day. "That will make it tough for every team, not just us," he said. "We'll have to adjust and make sure that we get down the track with consistency."

Leading up to the O'Reilly Summer Nationals, Schumacher and his team were a

model of consistency having won three events, while advancing to two other final rounds. "We've been on top of the standings since day one and the goal is to remain there through the season finale in November," said Schumacher. "I'm pretty confident that we'll have some valleys along the way, but over a long season that's going to happen. If we're going to win another title, the key will be to minimize those valleys."

In 2008, Schumacher is attempting to win a Top Fuel record sixth career world championship and a fifth consecutive crown.

"As I've been saying, we have a long way to go before we can start thinking along those lines," he said. "Our focus is only winning this weekend's race." Schumacher is a two-time winner at Route 66 Raceway - in 2003 and 2005. He was the number one qualifier last year with a 4.462-second pass.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Tony Schumacher