Schumacher Slides Into Fourth
Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher, behind the wheel of his U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster, took the fourth starting position here Friday during the first day of qualifying for the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways.
After recording a 3.856-second pass at 317.05 miles per hour, Schumacher dropped in behind Del Worsham, Spencer Massey and Antron Brown, respectively, in the order going into Saturday's qualifying action.
"It was a nice effort by the U.S. Army team," said the seven-time world champion. "With the momentum we built up the last couple of weeks, we wanted to keep it rolling right from the start here at Pacific Raceways."
Schumacher is coming off two straight final round appearances in Denver and Sonoma, Calif., respectively. He is still seeking his first victory of the year.
"We're almost there," said Schumacher about landing his first win of 2011. "The guys are definitely ready for a celebration. That's exactly what we are planning on doing come Sunday afternoon."
The Chicago-area resident certainly enjoys his annual visit to the Pacific Northwest given his track record over the years. He has accumulated four wins in six final rounds since 2004.
"We have done well here," he said. "Of course, the past is the past and we have to deal with what is right in front of us."
Right in front of him happens to be the NHRA's Countdown to 1. Including the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals, three races remain before the playoffs commence in Charlotte next month.
"We need to keep improving these next few races," said Schumacher. "A win or two wouldn't hurt along the way either. We just need to be clicking in every which way by the time it starts to count for real."
Schumacher entered the 14th race of the season holding fifth-place in the standings. He trailed fourth-place Larry Dixon by 16 points and third-place Antron Brown by 40 points.
"It's tight at the top," he said. "As I've been saying, we want to rise up as much as we can before the playoffs so when they reset the points we will be that much closer to the leader. We truly believe we are going to challenge for another world championship. That's our clear mission."
Brown, who is Schumacher's U.S. Army Racing teammate, posted a 3.849-second run at 318.54 mph to secure the third spot.
"After winning in Sonoma last weekend, we want to keep things going forward here," said Brown. "Like Tony, we are focusing on getting better going into the Countdown to 1."
By: don schumacher racing