U.S. Army Racing press release
SCHUMACHER NOT IN SHOW, BROWN FIFTH
LAS VEGAS, Nev., October 28, 2011 - U.S. Army NHRA Racing Top Fuel pilots Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher and Antron Brown claimed the 15th and fifth starting spots, respectively, here Friday during the first day of qualifying for the Big O Tires NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Schumacher, who is fighting to stay in contention for his eighth world championship, recorded a 3.902-second pass at 318.24 mph in the early session, but it wasn't quick enough to make it into the field. He will have two more shots on Saturday to get into the show.
Brown's best run of the day stopped the clocks at 3.863-seconds at 318.54 mph which was good enough for a top-five slot. A New Jersey native, he arrived in Las Vegas following a final round appearance in Phoenix two weeks ago which propelled him into the Top Fuel points lead.
"Obviously, the goal here in Vegas is to keep going rounds and stay on top of the standings," said Brown. "We want to keep the pressure on and not fall into a defensive mode. We have two more races to go, so we can't take a second off."
A six-time winner to date this season, Brown is seeking his first career world title since he became a professional drag racer (Pro Stock Motorcycles) in 1998.
"Man, I'm not even thinking about that right now," said Brown. "We still have plenty of business to take care of before we can remotely think about accepting the big trophy and the big check."
Schumacher, fifth in the points coming into the 21st race of the year, would love to pocket his first win of the season, while making a move up in the Top Fuel order.
"We're not conceding anything to anyone," said the Chicago-area resident. "If we can go out and win here in Vegas and the guys in front of us have problems, we could be right back in the thick of the action going out to Pomona (Calif.) in two weeks for the season finale.
"We didn't have a good run in the evening session today, but I'm sure we'll fix whatever went wrong and improve tomorrow. We'll get it done."
Schumacher, who has six final rounds to his credit in 2011, understands The Strip might just be what the doctored ordered in terms of achieving success. His last victory was in the fall Vegas race.
"We've actually won here six times," said Schumacher. "We're certainly hoping we can continue that winning trend this weekend."