Old Bridge Township Raceway Park
SCHUMACHER QUIETLY MAKING NOISE
ENGLISHTOWN, N.J., May 31, 2011 - It's hard to imagine a seven-time world champion sneaking up on his competition, but U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher may be doing just that as the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series climbs over the one-third mark of the 2011 season this weekend with the NHRA SuperNationals here at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.
Despite not recording a victory through seven races, Schumacher has managed to stay within striking distance of Del Worsham at the top of the standings.
"I guess it's a little surprising we are where we are in the points given we haven't won as yet," said Schumacher. "To be in second-place and less than four rounds of racing behind says a lot about my team. We're a lot like our Army Strong Soldiers in that we're resilient and very determined to succeed."
With Mike Green (Schumacher's crew chief) calling the shots, the U.S. Army dragster is clearly showing signs of life. After capturing his third pole of the year, Schumacher collected a semifinal round appearance at Heartland Park Topeka two weeks ago.
"There's no question I have a very fast hot rod," said the Chicago-area resident. "I've stated this in recent weeks - it's only a matter of time before the wins start coming. I would like to think it will be like a dam that bursts and the trophies will start coming in bunches."
Schumacher wouldn't mind if he pockets his initial win of the season in the Garden State on Sunday. He knows how tough it is to win any race, no less one at the Northeast's premier drag-racing facility.
"Everyone wants to win at 'E-Town'," said Schumacher. "It took me a long time before I was able to claim a win there. Hopefully, I won't have to wait as long to get another one."
It actually took Schumacher until 2008 before he was able to cross Englishtown off his "no wins" list. Presently, only one track remains on that list - Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga.
"Given the run I had going (four straight titles and 30 wins going into the '08 season), you would have thought Raceway Park would have been part of the mix," offered Schumacher.
"But, it proved to be a challenge which, thankfully, we eventually conquered."
With nine races remaining (including Englishtown) before the Countdown to 1 begins, Schumacher would like to see his team mount a charge as soon as possible.
"Ideally, a team wants to be just about peaking at the time the playoffs start," he said. "We have a stretch of races coming up here in June (Englishtown; Bristol, Tenn., June 17-19, and Norwalk, Ohio, June 23-26) which will provide a nice test for us. Obviously, we want to ace that test. And, the way you ace any test is to get every answer correct. That would mean three victories for us."