Phoenix: Tony Schumacher final report

SCHUMACHER EXITS IN SEMIFINALS CHANDLER, Ariz., February 22 - Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher, who handles the controls of the U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster, dropped a semifinal round race here Sunday in the Lucas Slick Mist Nationals at Firebird ...

SCHUMACHER EXITS IN SEMIFINALS

CHANDLER, Ariz., February 22 - Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher, who handles the controls of the U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster, dropped a semifinal round race here Sunday in the Lucas Slick Mist Nationals at Firebird International Raceway. Despite posting a clean 3.852-second pass at 313.29 mph, Schumacher came up just short against his former U.S. Army Racing teammate, Antron Brown, who recorded a 3.819-second run at 315.34 mph.

"It was a nice, competitive race," said Schumacher afterwards. "You have to give Antron and his team credit - they really stepped up and ran a good number. We'll just use this weekend as a learning experience and move forward. Like our Soldiers, we'll never quit."

Heading into his meeting with Brown, Schumacher had laid down a couple of less than stellar performances.

In his opening round matchup, he watched 15th-place qualifier Troy Buff foul out at the starting line as he encountered traction problems down track. Then, in the quarterfinals, he was able to overcome mechanical issues after Shawn Langdon smoked the tires at the hit of the throttle.

"Hey, luck is a very big part of this sport," said the Chicago-area resident. "We got the win lights on both occasions and that's what counts. We also gained some valuable points in the standings."

With his second straight semifinal round advancement at Firebird, Schumacher took over sole possession of fourth-place in the Top Fuel standings.

"We clearly made some headway this weekend," he added. "It's a long season and we're going to improve with each passing race."

The next stop for Schumacher and his U.S. Army team will be Gainesville (Fla.) Raceway, March 12-15, for the famed ACDelco Gatornationals.

After beating Brandon Bernstein in the finals last year, Schumacher became only the fourth Top Fuel driver in NHRA history to win three career Gatornationals.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Tony Schumacher , Brandon Bernstein , Troy Buff , Shawn Langdon