Richmond: Tony Schumacher preview

SCHUMACHER BRUSHES ASIDE TITLE TALK RICHMOND, Va., October 7 - Since leaving Memphis Motorsports Park two weeks ago, U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher has been inundated with calls and e-mails about him winning a fifth ...

SCHUMACHER BRUSHES ASIDE TITLE TALK

RICHMOND, Va., October 7 - Since leaving Memphis Motorsports Park two weeks ago, U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher has been inundated with calls and e-mails about him winning a fifth consecutive world championship.

After securing his 13th victory of the season at the O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals, it seems most folks have already crowned Schumacher the 2008 Top Fuel world champion.

"To be honest, I wish people would stop doing that," said the Chicago-area resident. "We haven't clinched a thing. There are a number of other drivers still mathematically alive. Until the NHRA and POWERade hands out that big trophy, nothing has been decided."

Schumacher heads into the Virginia Nationals this weekend at Virginia Motorsports Park holding a sizeable 166-point lead over his Don Schumacher Racing teammate, Cory McClenathan. That equates to an eight-round lead with 12 rounds of racing left in the season.

"I will give you the fact that we have a decent lead right now," he added. "But, that advantage can be reduced pretty quickly if we don't perform well in Virginia. Our mindset will be the same as always - we want to win the race. That's what our soldiers expect us to do."

Should Schumacher be able to depart Virginia Motorsports Park with a 237-point lead over the driver in second-place, he will pocket his sixth career title, which would be a Top Fuel record. Presently, he and Joe Amato are tied with five career championships.

"We're not in the business of counting points," he said. "Like I've said, we're going to go qualify and then take it a round at a time. If on Sunday afternoon it ends up that we're the champs, then we can start the celebration. Right now, nothing is in the bag by any means."

Beyond dealing with the Countdown to the Championship this weekend, Schumacher would love to post his first career win at Virginia Motorsports Park. It's one of three tracks where Schumacher has failed to post a victory - the other two are Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga. and Heartland Park in Topeka, Kan.

"That list used to have four tracks on it, but we got rid of Raceway Park (Englishtown, N.J.) this year," he said. "Perhaps, Virginia Motorsports Park is next in line for us."

Since the NHRA returned to Virginia Motorsports Park in 2006 after a five-year hiatus, Schumacher qualified number one at each race, but was subsequently taken out in the first round.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Schumacher , Joe Amato , Cory McClenathan , Don Schumacher