Route 66 Raceway
Schumacher Drops Rare First Round Race
For the first time in 29 races, U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher absorbed a first round loss to Shawn Langdon here Sunday in the O'Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.
Schumacher's dragster lost traction at about half track and Langdon bolted on by for the opening round win. One would have to look back to the 2010 race in Baytown, Tex. to find the last time the Chicago-area resident was sent packing early in the day.
"We knew it was going to be a tricky track," said Schumacher. "We had not faced these kind of conditions all weekend (qualifying was conducted late on Friday and Saturday, while race day began during the late morning). It's very simple - Shawn and his team got the job done and we didn't."
Schumacher was pursuing his first victory of the season at a track located about an hour away from his home.
"It's disappointing any time you lose, but it's especially disappointing when it comes in front of so many friends and family," said the seven-time world champion. "All we can do is keep our heads up and target the next race.
"Our Army Strong Soldiers are always focused on accomplishing the mission and they never accept defeat. That's what we believe in as well."
Schumacher, who remains fifth in the standings, will take a weekend off before traveling to Bandimere Speedway outside of Denver for the MOPAR Mile-High Nationals. It will be the first of three straight races that comprise the NHRA's Western Swing.
"We're going to test here at Route 66 Raceway on Monday to prepare for that challenging stretch (after Denver, the NHRA tour goes to Sonoma, Calif. and Seattle on successive weekends)," said Schumacher. "We have done well at all of those tracks over the years, so that's certainly a positive."
While Schumacher was ousted in the first round, his U.S. Army Racing teammate Antron Brown advanced to the semifinals before losing to points leader Del Worsham.
"The whole weekend was challenging with the weather and getting it all together," said Brown, who retained fourth-place in the standings. "We got to the semifinals and that was good, but we're here to win races. We always want to beat the Al-Anabi guys (Worsham) because they are the team to beat right now.
"We'll just have to go back to the shop and work even harder so we're ready for the (Western) Swing. The good news is that we seem to be peaking about the right time."
By: don schumacher racing