SCHUMACHER OUSTED IN QUARTERFINALS SONOMA, Calif., July 26 -Â Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher, aboard his U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster, was beaten in the quarterfinals of the FRAM-Autolite Nationals here Sunday at Infineon Raceway. Schumacher was...
SCHUMACHER OUSTED IN QUARTERFINALS
SONOMA, Calif., July 26 - Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher, aboard his U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster, was beaten in the quarterfinals of the FRAM-Autolite Nationals here Sunday at Infineon Raceway.
Schumacher was taken out by number one qualifier, J.R. Todd, after the former began hazing the tires around half track.
"I guess we just couldn't get down what proved to be a challenging track," said the six-time world champion. "The conditions changed dramatically between the first and second rounds."
Prior to Schumacher's opening round win over Brandon Bernstein, track temperatures were approaching 100 degrees. By the time the quarterfinals arrived 90 minutes later, the track surface had warmed to 115 degrees.
"We really had no problem against Bernstein," said Schumacher who posted a 3.872-second pass. "But, the track just wouldn't hold a similar type pass in round two and we ended up losing traction. All we can do at this point is to pack it up here in Sonoma and move on."
The Sonoma race marked the end of the grueling Western Swing which also moved through Denver and Seattle, respectively. Schumacher posted a final round appearance at Pacific Raceways during that stretch.
Heading into a two-week break in the schedule, Schumacher will hold on to second-place in the Top Fuel standings. He's already clinched a berth in the NHRA's Countdown to One.
Including the next event, the Lucas Oil Nationals at Brainerd (Minn.) International Raceway, August 13-16, three races remain before the playoffs begin at zMax Dragway in Charlotte.
"Like our Army Strong Soldiers, we're not going to accept defeat," said Schumacher. "It's tough competition out here, but we know we have what it takes to finish the job. I'll go into battle with my team any day of the week."
Schumacher is the defending event champion at the upcoming races in Brainerd, Reading, Pa. and Indianapolis.
At the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals over Labor Day weekend, he'll be looking to tie Don Garlits' Top Fuel victory record - eight.