Schumacher Set For His Turn In Spotlight
As U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher watched his U.S. Army NASCAR teammate, Ryan Newman, capture his first victory of the season on Sunday, he couldn't help but wonder when his time was going to come. Schumacher, who is a seven-time world champion, has now gone 12 straight races (counting the 2010 season finale) without a trip to the winner's circle.
"I'm sure Ryan was incredibly happy to get that first one under his belt," said Schumacher as he packed for the trip to Bandimere Speedway outside of Denver this weekend for the MOPAR Mile-High Nationals. "I guess the pressure is on us now to mirror the NASCAR team's performance. We would love to get our first one this weekend, while opening the Western Swing on an up note."
The MOPAR Mile-High Nationals marks the beginning of a grueling three-race stretch which also has the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series marching through Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. and Pacific Raceways outside of Seattle on successive weekends.
"The Western Swing is always a challenge for everyone," offered the Chicago-area resident. "You start off in the thin air of Denver and then you go to two other different type tracks in Sonoma and Seattle. The crew chiefs really earn their money during this tour out west."
Three years ago, Schumacher became one of five Top Fuel drivers who have swept the Western Swing. And, he knows it is no easy chore.
"If you are able to sweep, that's really saying something," he said. "When we did it, we had a great sense of accomplishment, which is the way it should be.
"What it boils down to is we want to win for the Soldiers. They make so much of a difference in all of our lives. We want to give something back to them in any way we can. Hopefully, a number of trophies will be going their way real soon."
Holding fifth in the standings, Schumacher understands the importance of starting to get on a roll. Only five races remain before the points are reset and the top 10 drivers battle it out for the world title during the six-race Countdown to 1.
"We have to get to some finals and win some races - it's that simple," he related.
"Having momentum is so critical by the time you get into the playoffs. If you don't have any, it
could spell trouble."
Schumacher believes a productive test session held at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill. after the O'Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals two weeks ago will help produce positive results during the upcoming Western Swing.
"We are sure looking for that to happen," he said. "We worked on a laundry list of things and posted some good numbers. It's time for us to stand up and be counted in this Countdown to the Championship."
By: don schumacher racing