Pomona: Tony Schumacher preview

SCHUMACHER SET FOR ANOTHER INTENSE BATTLE POMONA, Calif., February 3 - For the better part of two months the word "new" has been included in most conversations involving U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher. "You can't imagine...

SCHUMACHER SET FOR ANOTHER INTENSE BATTLE

POMONA, Calif., February 3 - For the better part of two months the word "new" has been included in most conversations involving U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher.

"You can't imagine how many times it's happened," said the six-time world champion. "People want to know how I feel about my new challenge, my new crew chief and my new team. Frankly, I'm ready for the 2009 season to begin so we can move forward."

Schumacher still can't escape the fact when the '09 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season kicks off this weekend with the Kragen O'Reilly Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway, he will be starting from scratch in many ways.

The Chicago-area resident, who has captured five straight titles, will welcome the tuning talents of Mike Green, who will bring along his own crew. Green replaced Alan Johnson who opted to start his own Top Fuel and Funny Car operation.

"We have definitely hired the right people for the U.S. Army team," said Schumacher. "There's no doubt we had an amazing run with Alan and the guys, but it doesn't mean the winning ends. I see no reason why we can't go out there and give it an absolute fantastic run for another championship.

"I really can't wait to get everything going. As a group, we enjoy the off-season break, but we're racers and that means we're anxious to return to the track. I can't wait to get back in the car for the first qualifying pass."

Following two productive pre-season test sessions, Schumacher feels positive results will come sooner rather than later. He's determined to defend his 2008 Winternationals event crown.

"We want to start the season off on the right foot," he added. "Overall, it's going to be a neat challenge this year, it really is. I look forward to helping build a team and doing what I feel I do best - motivating and keeping a team positive. As always, we'll have to dig deep to be successful, but I'm very confident that will happen."

Aside from the competition side, Schumacher once again relishes the opportunity to be around the people he respects the most - the hard-working men and women of the U.S. Army.

"I can't wait to be surrounded by our Soldiers - I missed it over the winter," he said. They're all heroes of mine and are so inspirational. I guarantee you we're going to give our all for them again this year. They give nothing less every day for us."

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Schumacher