SCHUMACHER RETAINS PROVISIONAL POLE
BROWN STILL NOT IN SHOW
POMONA, Calif., November 11, 2011 - U.S. Army NHRA Racing Top Fuel pilots Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher and Antron Brown held serve here Friday during the second day of qualifying for the Auto Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway.
After swiping the number one spot on Thursday, Schumacher remained at the top of the charts with two of four rounds complete, while Brown was still not among the top-12 going into final qualifying action on Saturday.
"It's nice we're still number one, but I really feel bad for Antron," said Schumacher, who is sporting a Vietnam Veterans special paint scheme on his U.S. Army dragster this weekend.
"Antron is my teammate and he's fighting for a world championship. Obviously, he needs to be competing on Sunday to have a shot. I'm sure we'll all do whatever we can to make that happen."
Clearly, given his seven titles, Schumacher knows all about the pressures associated with being in the middle of a world championship hunt. To that end, he will make it a point to speak with Brown before the final day of qualifying.
"I'll go over there and chat with him," said Schumacher. "I'm sure he's a little down, so I will just try to reassure him that everything will be fine. It's all about maintaining a positive attitude. Antron is definitely good at doing that, so I'm not really worried about his mental approach."
Brown, who is seeking his first career world championship, understands the importance of having a solid Saturday.
"We know what our issues are and I have all the confidence in the world we will be all right," said the New Jersey native. "It's a clutch deal that needs to be taken care of. The car just wants to make a bunch of power and we're trying to harness it to accommodate the track. 'She' wants to rotate the earth, but the earth wants no part of it.
"As for tomorrow, first and foremost, we're hoping for good weather. I know the forecast calls for some showers, but it's not supposed to be an all-day rain event. Should we get two sessions in, we'll use the first one to get into the field and then try to go for number one in the last session."
Schumacher and Brown both agree if a head-to-head confrontation materializes on race day, there won't be any team orders.
"No way - we always race straight up at DSR," said Schumacher. "We'll both be looking to take the other out should we meet. That's the way it should be."
"Like usual, we'll definitely get after it," offered Brown. "That's just the way it is done at our place. You want to earn everything in this sport and not have anything handed to you."