By Don Schumacher Racing
Schumacher Lands In Second Starting Spot
Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher directed his U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster into the second starting position here Saturday during final qualifying for the fifth annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park.
With only two qualifying sessions at his disposal after rain wiped out Friday's action, Schumacher banked a 3.848-second pass at 316.30 mph to drop in behind pole sitter and points leader Del Worsham.
"After how we qualified last weekend in Bristol (eighth), it was nice to see us respond the way we did," said the seven-time world champion. "When you have just two qualifying sessions, there's not a lot of room for error. The Army team did what it needed to do."
Schumacher would gladly trade his qualifying performance for a victory tomorrow. He is still seeking his first win of the season.
"You have that right," said the Chicago-area resident. "We are totally overdue for a win. We're definitely going to try and hit one out of the park here in Norwalk."
If Schumacher is to collect another trophy (he has stockpiled a class record 67), he will have to get by 15th-place qualifier Pat Dakin in the first round of eliminations beginning at 11 a.m. ET. It will be their first meeting of the year.
"It will require focus and determination on our part," said Schumacher. "We are looking to get four win lights tomorrow."
For the third time this year, Schumacher's U.S. Army Racing teammate, Antron Brown , had to settle for a bottom half of the field starting position -- ninth.
Brown's 3.907-second run at 287.78 mph earned him a match up with eighth-place qualifier Doug Kalitta in the opening round of eliminations. On the way to the first of his two wins this year, he beat Kalitta in the semifinals at Las Vegas two months ago.
"We certainly wanted to qualify a lot better, but we'll just have to deal with where we're at," said Brown, who was a finalist in Norwalk last year. "We got behind the eight ball a little bit after smoking the tires in the first session. But, we came back for round two and did what we had to do. We won't have lane choice, but I don't believe that's a factor at this track."