Seattle: Tony Schumacher Saturday notes

SCHUMACHER TO START IN EIGHTH SPOT KENT, Wash., July 18, 2009 - Tony "the Sarge" Schumacher will drive his U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster against a familiar foe - Brandon Bernstein - at Pacific Raceway here in the first round of tomorrow's 22nd ...

SCHUMACHER TO START IN EIGHTH SPOT

KENT, Wash., July 18, 2009 - Tony "the Sarge" Schumacher will drive his U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster against a familiar foe - Brandon Bernstein - at Pacific Raceway here in the first round of tomorrow's 22nd Annual NHRA Northwest Nationals.

Schumacher will defend his event championship (winner of the previous three NHRA Full Throttle races here and four of the past five) from the eighth position, thanks to his 3.937- second pass - at 303.98 miles per hour - during Friday's second-qualifying session.

This will be the third consecutive year these two drivers square off in this race, with Schumacher having defeated Bernstein in the previous two NHRA Northwest Nationals' finals.

This year, though, they will be first pair of racers starting the event instead of the last two finishing it.

Three times this season Schumacher and Bernstein have raced each other, with the Sarge victorious twice. Historically, Schumacher has won 23 of his 33 rounds against Bernstein. (Bernstein did defeat Schumacher here in the finals of the 2005 event.)

"I'm extremely excited about meeting Brandon tomorrow," said the Chicago-area resident. "I like facing a great driver with a great team!

"You have to be focused and on your game when you face the great ones and this is the kind of racing challenge I like."

Schumacher is confident going into Sunday's eliminations following Saturday's qualifying sessions. His initial run today was 3.949 seconds at 297.29 mph, with a 4.445-second, 179.49-mph pass in the final round.

"We ran what we pretty much expected in the first qualifying round and put up the second-best pass of the session," he said. "We might have tried a bit too hard in the second session, but it's nothing we can't fix for tomorrow.

"We want to keep our streak alive against Brandon at this race." Schumacher, six-time Top Fuel Champion, including world titles the past five years, entered this weekend third in the championship race with 938 points after 13 events. He entered the event two points behind Larry Dixon and 118 behind Antron Brown.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Tony Schumacher , Brandon Bernstein