BROWN STORMS INTO THE FIELD SCHUMACHER SETTLES FOR THIRD
POMONA, Calif., November 12, 2011 - U.S. Army NHRA Racing Top Fuel drivers Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher and Antron Brown will start third and seventh, respectively, here Sunday in the 47th annual Auto Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway.
After not gaining entry into the 16-car race day field through two days of qualifying action, Brown proved to be the big story on Saturday. He used his only run of the day (3.848- seconds at 319.37 mph) to slide into the top half of the order.
"That was pretty pressure packed," said the New Jersey native. "We were hoping to get another pass in today, but the rain came and it cost us taking a shot at the pole. I really have to tip my hat to the entire Matco Tools/U.S. Army team - they rose up and came through in the clutch."
Brown created a match up with 10th-place qualifier, Bob Vandergriff, in the first round of final eliminations beginning at 11 a.m. PT. He will start the proceedings still holding third-place in the standings and a little more than a round of racing (25 points) behind the leader, Del Worsham.
"We definitely have some work to do tomorrow," offered Brown. "We'll come out focused on the first round and take it from there. We'll be going for broke, that's for sure. We're going after a world championship."
Schumacher, while posting an impressive 3.801-second pass at 322.19 mph in round three, was knocked from first to third in the lineup behind Worsham and Larry Dixon, respectively.
The Chicago-area resident will square off with 14th-place qualifier, Clay Millican, in the opening round of eliminations. Winless through 21 races, Schumacher would like to close the 2011 season in grand style with a visit to victory lane.
"You bet," he said. "We would like to finish the year on a positive note. Also, we would like to have some momentum to take into next year. Our goal in 2012 will be to return the Full Throttle trophy to the U.S. Army team camp."
This weekend, Schumacher's dragster is sporting an Army Vietnam Veterans paint scheme, which truly has special meaning for the seven-time world champion.
"Those brave Soldiers sacrificed so much for us," he said. "We would love to honor them in the right way with a win in the season finale."
Over in the U.S. Army NASCAR Racing camp on Saturday, driver Ryan Newman qualified 30th for tomorrow's Kobalt Tools 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway.
Newman, who recorded a 26.746-second lap at 134.509 mph, is also carrying a Vietnam Veterans paint scheme on his No. 39 Chevrolet.
"It's not the qualifying effort we wanted," said Newman. "Conditions were different and we didn't make it click. But, we're going to go after it tomorrow and do our best to make the Vietnam Veterans proud of their car."