Route 66 Raceway
Schumacher Prepared For Hometown Race
When U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher glances at the 2011 NHRA drag racing schedule posted on the wall in his office, his eyes are quickly directed to a dark circle around one of the tour stops.
"Absolutely - it is the race that is located right in my backyard," said the Chicago-area resident about this weekend's O'Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway. "I love staying at home. I get to have all my family and friends come out. When I'm not working, we have a good time."
Of course, the pressure seems to ramp up that much more given the extra attention that goes along with playing a home game.
"When you have that many people cheering you on, you naturally want to do everything in your power to bring home the winner's trophy," said the seven-time world champion. "We want to win every race, but winning on your home turf definitely means that much more." Schumacher has captured three career wins at Route 66 Raceway, which is known as the first true stadium of drag racing. He last won in 2008.
"It's been a while since we visited victory lane in Joliet," said Schumacher. "But, it's also been a while since won a race in general. With the way the car has performed this year, it's really hard to believe we're still winless."
One would have to go back to the 2010 fall Las Vegas race to find the last time Top Fuel's winningest driver hoisted a trophy above his head.
"Counting last year's season finale, that's 11 straight races without a win," said Schumacher. "The drought has to end at some point. I'm all for it ending this weekend.
"Like our Army Strong Soldiers, we clearly have the speed, power, teamwork and technology to get the job done. We're going to keep at it and we'll never quit."
With the 22-race NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season hitting the halfway mark in Joliet, Schumacher knows it is time to begin making noise as connected to the points. He currently holds fifth-place in the standings.
"We may be reaching the halfway point, overall, but there are only six more races (counting this weekend's event) until we reach the Countdown to 1," said Schumacher of the post-regular-season playoffs. "We need to start making a move. Collecting some wins would help that cause dramatically.
"Let there be no doubt - we remain a serious world championship contender. We just need to establish some consistency and then we will hit our stride. We'll be right there when it is go time. And, that's when it will count the most."
By: don schumacher racing